After winning 10 matches for the first time in 10 years, Chadron State College volleyball head coach Riann Mullis enter the 2018 season with excitement and hoping to build off last season’s success.
“We were one set away from postseason play last season,” Mullis said. “That is the motivation for the team this season and is fueling all of us for the upcoming year.”
With four seniors and six juniors on the roster, the team has experience.
Setter Madison Webb is the lone senior who started her career as an Eagle. A three-year starter, Webb has led the team in assists the last three seasons. Another senior setter, Mickey Trimble, joined the team last year after transferring from Fort Scott Community College, where she led the NJCAA in assists per set as a sophomore.
The other two seniors are Dominika Senkerikova and Megan Chintala. Senkerikova, a 5-9 right side hitter from the Czech Republic, is the team’s leading offensive weapon returning from last season after accounting for 207 kills.
Chintala, a junior college transfer from North Platte Community College, will see valuable time as a defensive specialist for the team.
Of the six juniors, only two have previously played a set at CSC. Redshirt junior Timmi Keisel will be a leader at the net defensively, after being second on the team in blocks last season. The other, Ashton Burditt, is a highly athletic defensive specialist who will also help in the back row.
Filling out the junior class are three transfers. Shelby Schouten and Brooke Gardner are both hitters, while Chayanne Rivas is a libero. Schouten, who was on the roster last year but had to sit out a year due to NCAA transfer rules, should see playing time this season. Gardner joins the program after recording 196 kills as a sophomore at Illinois Central CC last season. Rivas comes to CSC from The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma where she led the team in digs and service aces as a sophomore.
Both sophomores, Karli Noble and Katie Thoeny, are defensive specialists who help strengthen the Eagles serve-receive. Thoeny sat out last season after receiving a medical redshirt to recover from an injury, while Noble saw significant time as a true freshman.
Local product Chandler Hageman of Chadron is expected to help the team at the net. She will be eligible for the Eagles this season after redshirting her first year at Black Hills State.
Rounding out the roster are seven true freshmen.
Amelia Berg, a 6-0 outside hitter from Fort Collins, Colorado, will provide height at the net. She recorded 168 career blocks while attending Rocky Mountain High School.
Olivia Bonstead, a 5-11 hitter from Bennett, Colorado, led her team in kills the past three seasons.
Another 5-11 hitter, Aracely Hernandez, was named First Team All-State as a senior at University High School in Greeley, Colorado with 285 kills.
Alli Keisel, Timmi Keisel’s sister, joins the program after being named First Team All-State as a 5-11 hitter at Fleming High School.
Machaela Puck joins the program as the lone freshman from Nebraska. While attending Bennington High, the 5-8 Puck finished with over 45 blocks, serve aces, kills, and digs as a senior.
Also a 5-11 hitter, Kaydrin Quest, from Raymore-Peculiar High School in Raymore, Missouri, finished her senior year with 90 kills and a .227 hitting percentage. Finally, setter Kincaid Strain from Elk River High School in Minnesota, recorded 825 assists and 289 digs as a senior while being named First Team All-Conference.
“We have ten players returning and ten newcomers,” Mullis said. “It’s a good balance to have. The newcomers will learn from the returnees and are here to help build the program so that we can all win on and off the court.”
The Eagles open their season at a tournament in St. Charles, Missouri, on Aug. 24. Their first home match will be Sept. 14, against defending Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Co-Champion Regis University.