Parkland Volleyball ranked number one in nation
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
“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
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/