Parkland Volleyball ranked number one in nation

 

Cricket Wright

Staff Writer

Photo by Scott Wells/Prospectus News Sophomore Setter Morgan Hickman serves during the first set of the Sept. 10, 2014 match against Lewis and Clark Community College.  The Cobras defeated the Trailblazers in three sets, improving their record to 14-1.

Photo by Scott Wells/Prospectus News
Sophomore Setter Morgan Hickman serves during the first set of the Sept. 10, 2014 match against Lewis and Clark Community College. The Cobras defeated the Trailblazers in three sets, improving their record to 14-1.

The number one ranked volleyball team in the entire nation (Division 2 poll) is led by six

sophomores and nine freshmen. What does it take to be number one? If you ask Cliff Hastings,

Parkland Volleyball Head Coach, he will tell you, “a high level of experience, success, and

confidence.” This is where he finds his team this year.

When you look at the combination of women that have joined forces, to teach each other and

lead each other game after game as during practices, then you see why this team is sitting on

the top spot of the national poll.

“There are 15 captains, as they each bring skills of leadership to the team,” Hastings remarked.

When it comes to being a great team it takes the small things that take place before players

even step on the court. When asked about what steps took place to build up the team

comradery sophomores, Morgan Hickman and Madison Weldon reflected that it began in the

first meeting, where their coach emphasized being good people to each other on and off the

court.

“Coach was real big on respect, made sure we used eye contact while speaking to each other,

had polite manners, and overall civility,” Hickman explained.

The respect aspect of the game showed up on Wednesday, Sept. 10, as the team had their first

home game of the season. The players were very well organized and had great communication.

They also took time out of the game to work with the members of the Champaign-Urbana

Special Recreation group, and allowed them to come on the court a play with team.

When it came picture time, the Cobras made sure to invite the opposing team to join in the

picture.

It is no wonder that Hastings is very excited about the future of this squad. Nine of their first

13 wins have come against other teams ranked in the top 20 of the nation. Led by the plays of

athletes such as Lori VanBeek, who is second in the nation in hitting percentage, Kaitlyn Hunt,

who is third in the nation in total digs, and Alayna Jackson, who is number seven in the country

for blocks per set.

But what really sets this team apart from others is the fact that they have created such a strong

bond with one another. They have talented freshmen on the bench that could be starting at

other schools. These freshmen are wise enough to not get upset about being on the bench, but

instead learn from the experiences and teachings of their sophomore predecessors. They listen,

work hard, and practice patience which will pay off next year as they take the roles of being in

charge and transforming the next group of women into star athletes.

For more information on Parkland’s Volleyball Team, please visit www.parkland.edu/athletics/

volleyball.