For the Barton Community College volleyball team, the main concern heading into the 2013 season is size.
The tallest athlete is outside hitter Kim Hockley, a 6-foot-4 freshman from Yellow Grass, Saskatchewan.
After that, the team has three athletes listed at 5-11.
“We’re young and pretty enthusiastic,” Barton first-year head coach Phil Shoemaker said. “We are a little small though, maybe. I really haven’t had a look at the rest of the conference, so I don’t know how our height stacks up with everyone else.”
Shoemaker said his team can make up for its lack of size by just outworking their opponents.
“We’re making progress on a day-to-day basis,” Shoemaker said. “We’ve got to be more athletic, smarter and outwork people. We have to have strong fundamentals, and we have to be good ball handlers.”
Barton, which finished 15-20 overall and 9-5 in Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference Western Division action under former Lady Cougars head coach Andrea Rasmussen, have three outside hitters returning. Barton’s season ended in a National Junior College Athletic Association Region VI championship game against Hutchinson.
Cheney’s Mackenzie Orchard, a 5-11 outside hitter, led Barton with 268 kills, averaging 2.2 kills per set.
McKenzie Piland, a 5-11 hitter from Wichita, had 132 kills and 56 blocks. She also led the team with 873 assists.
Weskan’s Jori Mote, a 5-9 middle blocker, had 216 kills.
Defensively, the Lady Cougars will rely on returning libero Kiara Rivera of Puerto Rico, as well as freshmen liberos Jennica O’Neill of Wamego and Mykela Riedl of Hoisington.
“Kiara Rivera is likely to be our libero,” Shoemaker said. “Jennica O’Neill and Mykela Riedl are both doing well for us as well.”
Rivera led the team with 398 digs as a freshman, averaging 3.09 digs per set.
Barton freshman Casey Friesen, a native of Pflugerville, Texas, and Lakyn Rowden of Wamego will look to get some time as the team’s setters.
“We’ve got two freshmen (at setter),” Shoemaker said. “They’re both doing real good. I’ve been happy with Friesen. She’s 5-9 and has good size.
“Lakyn Rowden is dynamic, energetic and pretty good for us, too.”
Larned’s Tahje Ochs and Jenna Reid of Calgary, Alberta, will also be filling in as hitters.
2013 BARTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Aug. 23 — At Iowa Western Tournament (Western Wyoming, 3 p.m.; Jefferson College, 7 p.m.)
Aug. 24 — At Iowa Western Tournament (Western Nebraska, noon; Polk State, 3 p.m.)
Aug. 28 — At Hutchinson, 6:30 p.m.
Aug. 31 — HESSTON COLLEGE, 11 a.m.
Sept. 4 — SEWARD COUNTY, 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 7 — At Garden City, 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 11 — DODGE CITY, 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 13 — PIZZA HUT INVITATIONAL (North Platte, 5 p.m.; Salt Lake, 9 p.m.)
Sept. 14 — PIZZA HUT INVITATIONAL (Trinidad State, 10 a.m.; Western Nebraska, 2 p.m.)
Sept. 18 — PRATT, 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 20 — At Wyo-Braska Shootout (Western Wyoming, noon)
Sept. 21 — At Wyo-Braska Shootout (Sheridan College, 11 a.m.; Laramie County, noon; Casper College, 4 p.m.)
Sept. 25 — At CLOUD COUNTY, 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 28 — COLBY, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 2 — HUTCHINSON, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 4 — At Ozfest Invitational in Liberal (Seward County, 1 p.m.; Western Texas, 5 p.m.)
Oct. 5 — At Ozfest Invitational in Liberal (Vernon College, 11 a.m.; Frank Phillips College, 3 p.m.)
Oct. 9 — GARDEN CITY, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 15 — At Dodge City, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 17 — At Pratt, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 22 — CLOUD COUNTY, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 24 — At Colby, 6:30 p.m.
HOME MATCHES IN ALL CAPS
Casey Friesen, 5-foot-9, Fr., Setter; Kim Hockley, 6-4, Fr., Outside hitter; Jori Mote, 5-9, So., Outside hitter/Middle blocker; Jennica O’Neill, 5-7, Fr., Libero; Tahje Ochs, 5-7, Fr., Outside hitter; Mackenzie Orchard, 5-11, So., Outside hitter; McKenzie Piland, 5-11, So., Outside hitter; Jenna Reid, 5-11, Fr., Middle hitter; Mykela Riedl, 5-5, Fr., Libero; Kiara Rivera, 5-0, So., Libero; Lakyn Rowden, 5-6, Fr., Setter