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La Grande’s Denise Comfort (4) became the first player under Melinda Becker to make the first-team all-state team.
After a season where the La Grande volleyball team dominated its league and made a trip to the state playoffs, the Lady Tigers were rewarded with their first all-state selection under coach Melinda Becker.
Senior outside hitter Denise Comfort was one of nine players at the 4A level voted by coaches as a first-team all-state selection recently.
Comfort, who was also named the Greater Oregon League player of the year after LHS went 9-0 for its second straight league title, was a model of consistency on the court.
“Denise is an all-around great player,” Becker said.
“I’m really proud to have a kid make all-state. When we needed a kill this year, she’d get a kill. She played great defense. I think it’s just great for Denise and the team to be recognized by other coaches. It’s a great way to top off the season.”
Comfort had 92 kills in nine league contests this year to go along with 57 digs. She had a 94.7 serving percentage with nine aces.
“Denise sees the court really well. She’s smart at placing the ball. She’s also not afraid of going and getting the ball. If she made an error it was on to the next play,” Becker said.
Comfort was joined on the all-state first team by player of the year Makayla Lindburg (senior, Crook County), Shannon Fouts (senior, Sisters), Kaylin Vandomelen (senior, Banks), Hannah Troutman (junior, Crook County), Rachel Lowe (senior, Estacada), Kassi Sanders (senior, Cascade), Danielle Moyer (senior, Astoria) and Lona Dengler (senior, Siuslaw).
“It’s a pretty big deal being the first (all-state) player from La Grande in a while,” said Comfort, who has started for LHS since her sophomore year.
She admitted that making the team wasn’t one of her goals at the start of the year. She instead focused on the team aspect.
So what made Comfort so good in 2012?
“Just working hard in practice, knowing situations and listening to my coaches,” she said.
Comfort said bringing home La Grande’s first trophy since 2007 will be the most memorable thing about this season.
She has a tryout set up with Treasure Valley Community College and is considering a collegiate volleyball career.
Comfort said she expects to hear from a few more schools before the process is over.
One thing is for certain, though. She will go down as one of the most productive players in recent La Grande volleyball history.