Kaila Minehan is all about defense on the volleyball court.
That’s why the Butte Central head coach is ecstatic for a former player and her alma mater today.
Montana Tech announced the signing of Butte Central defensive star Danika Neumann. She’s the second member Butte Central’s first-ever State tournament team to sign with the Orediggers, joining Mariah Cooney.
“I would say Tech is lucky to have her,” Minehan said.
Minehan was the first libero in Montana Tech history. She also coached Neumann in that position the last four years.
Neumann was a two-time team captain for the Maroons. She was the Defensive Player of the Year in the Central A Division as a sophomore.
“She’s a quiet player, but her heart is so big,” Minehan said. “She wants to win so bad.”
Montana Tech coach Brian Solomon also noticed that quality in Neumann.
“You want to recruit kids who work hard and want to win,” Solomon said. “Danika definitely fits that bill.”
Neumann was also a key player for the Butte Central basketball team, contributing on the 2011 State championship team. She’s the starting shortstop on the Maroons’ softball team.
Solomon said Neumann’s success in all sports was a major drawing card.
“She’s such a versatile athlete, and she’s been so successful at so many different sports,” Solomon said. “She has a pretty proven track record in three sports.”
Minehan said Neumann was underrated as a volleyball player because she plays a position that is out of the limelight.
“They never get the big block or the big kill,” Minehan said of defensive specialists. “You’ve got to be the grunt in the back row and get after everything.”
The coach said Neumann excelled in that role for the Maroons.
“I can guarantee you if we didn’t have Danika this year, it would have been a different story.” Minehan said.
Neumann earned Academic All-State in all three sports and will take a 3.86 GPA to Montana Tech. The daughter of Dan and Jackie, she plans to study chemistry/pre-pharmacy.