RISING STAR: Valley Center's Ellie Shank

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VALLEY CENTER, Kan. In Valley Center, watch out for Senior Volleyball Captain Ellie Shank.

“We can always put her in any position we need her to fill, and she’s going to do it with a smile on her face and she’s going to give 110 percent,” said Assistant Coach Jessica Johnson.

That effort and great attitude will come in a season, where she is wrapping up one chapter but looking ahead to the next major volleyball chapter. Shank will set for LSU… but not on the court, Shank will play her college ball on the sand.

“I started playing beach when I was like 12,” Shank explained. “I still really wanted to play indoor up until my sophomore year and that’s when I went out to California and I realized this is what I really love to do and I realized I could do this for every day for four more years of college.”

Ellie plays for No Coast Volleyball Club in Wichita. She caught the eye of several D1 beach programs playing in California last summer but decided on LSU in November.

“It’s a lot easier on my body,” Shank said. “I’ve had a lot of knee injuries in the past when I get in the sand. Those feel a lot better, and also just the one other teammate. It’s a lot more individual and I enjoy that about it.”

But right now, her coaches say she is devoted to her team at Valley Center, and ready to roll for her senior year.

“She’s a leader on the court, off the court, all around the school, and she’s just improved in the year that I’ve seen her,” raved Valley Center Head Coach Melissa Segovia. “Everything she does utilizing all her skill sets. She can do pretty much anything and she’s worked to accomplish that.”