Johnson leading the way for Northern Cass as team heads to state volleyballHunter, ND (WDAY TV) - Wednesday's Beyond the Game, takes us to Northern Cass High School where the volleyball team is getting ready for its first ever trip to the state tournament.Senior Vanessa Johnson has had a lot to do with the Jags success this season, and overcome some adversity to lead her team to state.
By: Jody Norstedt, WDAY
Hunter, ND (WDAY TV) - Wednesday's Beyond the Game, takes us to Northern Cass High School where the volleyball team is getting ready for its first ever trip to the state tournament.Senior Vanessa Johnson has had a lot to do with the Jags success this season, and overcome some adversity to lead her team to state.
As a senior for the Northern Cass volleyball team, Vanessa Johnson wants to end her career on top.
Vanessa Johnson/447 Kills (Northern Cass Record): “We want to win state; we didn't beat Casselton just to go. We want to go and win it all.”
Johnson has been at the forefront of the Jaguars breakout season, her 447 kills this fall are a new school record.
Bree Olson/Northern Cass Sr. Setter: “She's probably the go-to player. If we're in a rut and we need a point, set it to her and she'll knock it down.”
Tom Klapp/Northern Cass Head Coach: “Vanessa has really come into that position well the last two years and this year she has really embraced it.”
Vanessa didn't become the go-to player without a few painful lessons.
Those came the summer before her junior season.
Johnson: “Whenever I exercised, it kind of felt like I had Charlie horses in my calves. It was kind of painful to exercise.”
Johnson was diagnosed with compartment syndrome, meaning the muscles and nerves in her legs weren't getting enough blood.
She underwent surgery, but the recovery process took patience.
Johnson: “I couldn't straighten my right leg for a long time, so I was on crutches way longer because of the swelling and everything. Where the scars are I'll never get feeling back, but a couple inches above the scars I still have numbness and on my left foot I really don't have feeling on the top of it.”
Klapp: “If you know anything about that surgery, it takes a long time to get over it. So, to be where she's at with state track, jumping, and volleyball is pretty amazing.”
It's that tolerance for pain that makes Johnson one of the toughest players at the net in North Dakota volleyball.
Northern Cass takes on Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood in the opening round Thursday at 6.