As is often the case at community colleges, new faces will be an important factor for the Barton Community College volleyball team.
The Cougars will return a pair of players with a lot of experience and a third that saw some court time. The rest will be new to the program as the Cougars prepare for the 2015 season.
It will be largely on the strength of those new faces that the Cougars will look to improve in the Jayhawk West standings. Last season Barton finished 5-11 in the West and lost in the opening round of post-season play.
Returning from last season are Emily Deterding and Jordan Edelman. Both played in nearly every match logging important action.
For the season Deterding was fourth on the team in kills while Edelman was sixth.
Deterding, an outside hitter from Smoky Valley High School, finished the season with 169 kills – good for 1.55 per set. Edelman, a middle blocker from Wichita South, finished the season with 116 kills. She was also fifth on the team with 49 blocks.
The third returning player is Ashley Lockwood, a 5-9 outside hitter from Hoisington. Lockwood played in 24 sets.
“I expect Ashley Lockwood, Jordan Edelman, and Emily Deterding each to play a major role this season,” third-year Barton coach Phil Shoemaker said. “Their skills and volleyball IQ’s have improved significantly and I believe they are working hard to provide leadership for the team.”
Of the 10 new faces – nine will be freshmen with one transfer.
The transfer is 6-0 sophomore middle blocker Sianna Cherweniuk from Canada. She is a transfer from Medicine Hat College in Alberta.
“Of our 10 newcomers we have added a great blend of athleticism, enthusiasm, and volleyball skill,” coach Shoemaker said. “Obviously some are going to need to step in and play major roles from the start and I think all will be serious contenders for playing time soon.”
In addition to Cherweniuk Shoemaker looks for big contributions from 5-11 middle blocker Olivia Naccarato of Mulvane High School.
Naccarato is a 2-time All-AVCTL blocker. She was a first team selection as a senior and a second team pick as a junior.
Shoemaker is looking for freshman setter Mallory McQueen to play a big role as well. McQueen is an all-around athlete from Plainville High School. McQueen, 5-6, was a first team All-MCL performer in both volleyball and basketball and was the 3-2-1A State Powerlifting Champion as a senior.
A fourth newcomer coach Shoemaker is looking to make an immediate impact is Lydia Konrade. The 5-7 freshman comes to Barton from Topeka Hayden and will be a main stopper on defense as the team’s Libero. She was a key member of the Wildcats second place teams at state as a sophomore and senior.
“All the new players have done very well in the first couple weeks of practice, but Mallory McQueen Olivia, Sianna and Lydia have been especially strong,” Shoemaker said.
“In general I feel strongly that this team is more athletic, skilled, and versatile than either of my first two teams here and the team chemistry appears to be very good. I have been pleased with the effort and progress in our practices thus far.”
The league will be chasing defending West champion Hutchinson this year in the West race. Hutch went 16-0 in the West last season and brings back a pair of first team All-West picks. That includes the West Freshman of the Year in 6-4 Petra Silic.
Barton opens the season Friday with a trip to Lamar Community College in Colorado. The Cougars will play Otero (Colo.) and Western Texas on Friday then take on Lamar and McCook (Neb.) on Saturday.
Barton’s first home contest as well the first Jayhawk West game will be Aug. 26 when Garden City visits the Barton Gym for a 6 p.m. start.