Over the top

NCCC freshman right-side hitter McKinley Pruitt attempts to produce for the volleyball team Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 at NCCC. Pruitt would go on to register 11 kills, three digs, one assist, and one service ace. More importantly, NCCC won its first game of the year over Hesston College.

ROBERT MAGOBET

Kills and digs weren’t at a premium as Neosho County Community College volleyball won its first game of the year Thursday night at home.

The Lady Panthers handled winless Hesston College by a score of 3-0 (25-9, 25-15, 25-9). Freshman right-side hitter McKinley Pruitt registered 11 kills, three digs, one assist, and one service ace; freshman outside hitter Hannah Brisco racked up nine kills, nine digs, and one service ace; freshman outside hitter Riley Kallevig had six kills and 14 digs; freshman outside hitter Jolene 

Tidwell had six kills, two digs, and one service ace; freshman Libero Brooklyn Strobel notched 14 digs, three service aces, and two assists; sophomore Nyah Alexander tacked on four digs; and freshman right-side hitter Rylee Moseman put up six digs and one service ace.

First-year head coach Marisa Compton said it was important to come out with an assertive mindset since the team went down 3-2 to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College – the first matchup of the season – on Monday.

“I think we learned a lot from Monday. It was our first game in a long time, and I think the girls did a good job of coming out tonight and executing what we worked on between our game Monday and today,” Compton said. “We did a lot better job of earning our points and we served-received really well tonight. And I thought we served really aggressive, too.”

The clean sweep started with Pruitt and Brisco, who earned points for NCCC throughout the match. The middles at the net did an exceptional job overall, including earning kills. And the Liberos, Strobel and Alexander, did their duty in serve-receive as well as playing defense.

“I think just us working together and getting a good pass to that Riley kid. Set a good set is what worked best,” Brisco said. “I was just trying to work on transitioning off the net and find open spots. (It feels) really good.”

Compton said it was about executing the fundamentals, too.

“We just wanted to make sure that we were executing on our side as fast as we could tonight. That was our big thing from Monday was just making sure we are earning our points and eliminating our errors,” Compton said.

2021 NCCC volleyball team

Two years ago, NCCC at 18-18 didn’t make the playoffs. But it’s a new year.

The team has nine players. Some student-athletes, before the finalized roster, graduated early due to the 2020 season being postponed because of COVID-19. 

There is only one returning sophomore for NCCC. Alexander (5-7, Raytown, MO) is a consistent presence in the back row. Through these first games, she has done an exceptional job in servicing and passing. Alexander is also the vocal leader on the floor.

The rest of the team are freshmen. And since it’s so early in the season, everyone is given an opportunity.

Tidwell (5-9, Springfield, MO) and Kallevig (5-8, Louisburg) are the two outside hitters. 

Pruitt (6 feet, Maize) and freshman Samantha Johnson (6 feet, El Dorado) are the two middles. Johnson actually graduated early from high school before attending NCCC.

Moseman (6-1, Republic, MO) is the freshman setter, while freshman Kinley Poynter (5-7, Goddard) is a defensive specialist. 

Strobel (5-5, Andover), a transfer student, is a freshman Libero. She is a solid player in the back row who also has a impressive volleyball IQ. 

At another middle position is Brisco (5-9, Goddard), who is a rigorous practice player. Compton said she will likely have a noteworthy season, along with many others on the team. 

“I think it’s just consistency and us finding ways to earn points,” Compton said. 

“They are undersized, but they are learning different ways to score when they are going up against a little more size. We’re really excited to be back on the court and playing again. It seems like it’s been a really long time. It’s been over a year since we’ve gotten to play and this freshmen group, last Monday was the first time they played six-on-six together. I know the girls are the same way. They are just excited to be back on the court and playing again.”

NCCC (1-1) will next play Fort Scott (1-0) Monday at 6:30 pm on the road.

 

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