With five players returning from a team that made a strong late-season run last year and an established coach in his first season with the program, the Hutchinson Community College volleyball team is being watched by others as the 2012 season is set to begin.
First-year head coach Patrick Hall’s Lady Dragons are receiving votes as the NJCAA Division I preseason volleyball poll was released on Thursday. Practice opens for HCC volleyball on Friday morning at the Sports Arena.
Hutchinson was 16-23 last season, but went 10-8 after October 1 and advanced all the way to the loser’s bracket final of the Region VI Tournament in Wichita. It was a 10-victory improvement from 2010 and HCC returned to the Region VI Tournament Final Four after a one-year absence.
Hall comes to Hutchinson after guiding Barton to the Jayhawk West and Region VI championships in 2011. The year before, he led Pratt to a Jayhawk West title.
He has a solid nucleus to build upon as all five returning sophomores had major roles in that run of success during the second half of last season.
Returning is first-team All-Jayhawk West middle blocker Shayne Haley, as well as outside hitters Jade Nelson, Emily Oberlin and Kayla Karmazyn. Also back is setter Ashlyn Westerman. Hall has also brought in a large freshman group to build on this season.
Hutchinson is one of three Jayhawk West teams mentioned in the national preseason poll. Seward County starts the season ranked No. 14, while Barton joins the Lady Dragons in the receiving votes list.
College of Southern Idaho drew the No. 1 preseason spot. CSI is followed by Tyler Junior College, College of Central Florida, San Jacinto and Western Wyoming.
While all the tournaments HCC is scheduled to play in haven’t released their full schedules, future HCC opponent Seminole State is ranked No. 11 in the preseason poll.
HCC opens the season on Aug. 24-25 at the New Mexico Military Classic in Roswell, N.M. HCC opens at home on Aug. 29 against Colby at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
2012 NJCAA PRESEASON DIVISION I VOLLEYBALL POLL
Team 2012 Record
1. College of Southern Idaho 24-12
2. Tyler Junior College 24-6
3. College of Central Florida 43-9
4. San Jacinto College 32-5
5. Western Wyoming CC 39-3
6. Western Nebraska CC 41-2
7. Salt Lake CC 29-9
8. Eastern Arizona College 27-6
9. Miami-Dade College 24-6
10. Iowa Western CC 45-7
11. Seminole State College 35-5
12. North Idaho College 25-10
13. Western Texas College 21-14
14. Seward County CC 25-16
15. Wallace State CC 42-5
16. Florida State College at Jacksonville 19-14
17. Arizona Western College 12-9
18. Casper College 16-20
19. Lake Land College 15-24
20. Gadsden State CC 31-8
Receiving votes: Barton CC (29-12); Midland College (18-13); John A. Logan College (17-14); Kaskaskia College (23-9); Hutchinson CC (16-23).