Berscheit sisters bring success to Saints

LeAnn Berscheit would return home to Melrose, Minn., on her breaks from St. Scholastica and would talk about how much she loved the college, the town and, of course, the big lake.

LeAnn Berscheit would return home to Melrose, Minn., on her breaks from St. Scholastica and would talk about how much she loved the college, the town and, of course, the big lake.

To her younger sister, Kati, it was like getting a weekly travel brochure. Duluth sounded like a pretty good deal, so she enrolled at St. Scholastica following her senior year in 2004. Having her sister already here helped smooth the transition, as LeAnn's friends became Kati's friends.

Now two years later, the two have brought a family atmosphere to the Saints' volleyball team.

The Saints go into this weekend's Upper Midwest Athletic Conference tournament in New Ulm, Minn., looking for their first tournament title since 1999. CSS (19-14) opens at 1 p.m. today against Bethany Lutheran (10-19), with the title match at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

"This year's team is a really close-knit group of women, and I think that has a lot to do with Kati and LeAnn,'' said Saints coach Dana Moore. "They are very close family members, and they have a lot of affection for one another, and I think that's carried over to our entire team. They've been a great addition to our program.''


Kati Berscheit played sparingly last year because the Saints had Laura Lief, but the two-time all-conference selection didn't return this year because of scheduling conflicts.

That opened a spot for Kati, and this year, it's been Berscheit setting to Berscheit -- just like LeAnn's senior year of high school, when Kati was Melrose's starting setter as a sophomore.

The results have been excellent. The players have shown a chemistry on the court not uncommon among siblings who have spent their entire lives playing sports together.

LeAnn, a 5-foot-10 middle hitter, is the Saints' career leader in total blocks (358) and block assists (259), and this year she has set single-season marks with 130 blocks and 101 block assists. She is third on the team with 314 kills and leads the Saints' with a .267 attack percentage.

Moore said LeAnn Berscheit's booming spikes can be intimidating to the opposition, but it's totally unlike her attitude off the court, which Moore described as laissez-faire.

"The rest of the players love her,'' Moore said. "On the court, she leads by example and can really put the ball down, but off the court, she's kind of in her own world. She's really easy going and loves to make people laugh. People really like her mood. She's just a funny kid.''

Kati Berscheit, meanwhile, is a go-getter, and that fits the mold of setter well. She is vocal and isn't afraid to get on her teammates if things aren't going well, but she can handle criticism as well.

"Kati isn't like in your face, but she can be very intimidating because she is so intense,'' LeAnn said. "There can be conflicts, but I think the rest of the players understand that's just the way she is and that she wants everyone to do their best.''


Setter is the proverbial quarterback of a volleyball team. There is a lot of pressure that goes with the position, but Berscheit has handled it well and been a leader, pacing Saints with 1,287 set assists, good for an average of 10.91 per game. She also leads the team with 55 service aces, one more than her sister.

"There was a huge amount of pressure,'' Kati Berscheit said of going into the season. "I went from hardly playing at all to playing all the time and never subbing out. I didn't know what to expect, but LeAnn and everyone on the team has been great in helping with the transition from hardly playing to being a setter who is in charge on the court, runs your offense and is a leader.''

LeAnn Berscheit is a psychology major who will graduate in May. She plans to attend graduate school in physical therapy but hasn't decided where, although St. Scholastica is a possibility.

Kati Berscheit is leaning toward a career in athletic training and hopes to lead the Saints the next two years.

With eight first-year players on the team, the future is bright for Saints' volleyball. But no matter how much success the Saints have over the next two years, it will be hard to top the one year she spent on the court with her sister.

"I had no clue at the time that Kati would end up coming up here to college,'' LeAnn Berscheit said. "She had other options, so when she decided to come up here, it was really nice because I've played with her for so long that I know all her tendencies. And our family is really close, so to have her up here, it's really just the icing on the cake.''

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