By Cassidy Crites
The Hutchinson Collegian
The Hutchinson Community College volleyball team is gearing up for the 2017 season.
After posting a 25-12 record and sharing the Jayhawk West title in 2016, the Blue Dragons were picked atop of the KJCCC’s Jayhawk West preseason coaches poll for this season. The Blue Dragons have won the conference five straight times, including the share last year.
Returning five players and adding two transfers, the team is positive on the outlook of the season.
“I’m super excited because we have a lot of potential this year,” sophomore Page Hiebert said. “Our schedule is going to be really competitive so we’ll have a bunch of fun games this season.”
Sophomore returnees include outside hitter Hiebert, middle hitter Patricia Joseph, right side hitter Nina Pevic, setter Katie Jorn and defensive specialist Kelsey Mulligan.
Outside hitter McKenna Sullivan and middle hitter Tatyanna Ndekwe joined the team during the spring.
Hiebert was named first-team All-Jayhawk West/Region 6 and was the conference Freshman of the Year last season.
With an abundance of talent back, Hutchinson coach Patrick Hall expects everyone to play a role.
“Though it’s common for sports writers to always want to single out players, I’m not fond of the practice in a team sport,” Hall said “So I’ll just say that we expect significant contributions from all of our sophomores, including our transfers.”
The Blue Dragons also welcomed to the team six freshman recruits, creating an even balance on the court.
“Likewise, since we have one of the most balanced teams we’ve had in years, I expect all six freshmen to play important roles for us this season. Our 13 players will allow us to explore a number of different options on any given night,” Hall said.
The Blue Dragons travel to Roswell, New Mexico to play in the New Mexico Military Institute Classic, Friday and Saturday. They open conference play at home August 30 against Garden City.