Senior Emily Neave has been playing volleyball for nearly her whole life and was on her first team when she was 10 years old.
Her older cousins played the sport, so she credits them and her aunt and uncle for sparking her interest in
“I’ve been preparing my whole life for college volleyball and it’s my last year, so I wanted to work to make it my best year I’d ever had,” she said.
Even with years of practice, Neave was surprised when she and teammate Anne Satterlee were named 2012 American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Americans earlier this month.
Satterlee was a second team recipient while Neave was selected to the third team.
Neave was first on the Blugolds and third in the conference averaging 10.59 set assists per set. She had a total of 1,440 assists this season and was also fifth on the team with 32 service aces.
Head coach Kim Wudi said that having two players receive the award is a sign of true team success.
She said Neave, who was the team’s setter this season, has a lot of confidence on the floor, but never arrogance.
“She’s a quiet leader on the floor, I mean she’s definitely vocal with her teammates,” Wudi said. “But in a lot of ways, she leads by example.”
Satterlee was WIAC Player of the Year this season and, among many other achievements, ranked second on the team and fourth in conference with 4.12 points per set. She was also fourth in conference and second on the team with 3.36 kills per set.
Wudi said one of the most overlooked aspects of Satterlee’s game is how she factored into defense.
“She has the ability to change a game, both offensively and defensively,” Wudi said. “She’s just a tremendous player.”
Satterlee, on the other hand, said the award is a rare thing and she wasn’t expecting it.
“It’s a great honor and it just shows that our program is developing and can produce fantastic players,” Satterlee said.
Satterlee began playing volleyball in sixth grade. She was the first one in her family to take an interest in volleyball as she came from a family that was heavily involved in baseball and softball.
“But I wasn’t interested in that,” she said. “When I started playing volleyball, it just clicked for me.”
Despite her family’s ties to baseball, they are always supportive of her volleyball career.
“My dad is always the one to make sure to come to every single game,” she said. “I’m from Green Bay, so that’s a three hour drive. He’s one of the big reasons why I go out there and play.”
Neave said her teammates are her inspiration, and the fact that they are all like best friends really
“Every day, every match, we’re playing for each other,” Neave said. “Seeing them make amazing plays makes me want to, too.”
Still, with years of hard work she and her teammates put into the sport, Neave wasn’t expecting the honor.
“(Former Eau Claire volleyball player) Liz Amici got the award last year and she’s so amazing, so good,” Neave said. “I never thought I was on that same level.”
Amici, who graduated last year, was named a 2011 AVCA All-American. She worked with both Neave and Satterlee during her time at Eau Claire.
“Playing with both of them was great,” Amici said. “Emily was my center for two seasons and she’s really fun to work with. She’s very athletic as a center, and with her there I never had to worry about her getting to the ball.
“Playing with Annie in front row, whether she was going, or I was going or someone else was going, her energy was just amazing to play with,” she said.
Amici said that while awards like the AVCA All-American are nice to receive, athletes don’t play sports to get honors, but to be with their teammates.
“Certainly when I received my award, Emily and Annie were a part of that, too,” she said. “I wouldn’t have gotten my kills if it weren’t for Emily. I wouldn’t have had my blocks without Annie. It took the team to get
Neave said that without their teammates pushing them in practice and cheering for them on the sides, they wouldn’t have had such success.
“I think two players getting an award like this says a lot about our whole team,” she said. “It could have been any of us.”