Members of the 2016 Northeast Community College Hawks Volleyball Team include (front row, from left) Lauren Hirsch, student manager, Courtney Labenz, Peyton Roach, Jordan Vogt, Monique Schafer, Tabitha Kander, Molly Oligmueller, Nicki Stolzer, Mackenzie Wecker, and Haley Roelle, volunteer assistant coach. Back row (from left) Amanda Schultze, head coach, Faith Molacek, Courtni Kunz, Caitlin McLouth, Taylor Lammers, Macy Stewart, Layne Mitchell, Kelsey Shoemaker and Sarah Oligmueller, assistant coach.
Three Holt County natives are among the 15 players looking to lead Northeast Community College's volleyball team to the national tournament in 2016.
Freshman Monique Schafer of Stuart will join returning sophomores Courtni Kunz of Stanton and Mackenzie Wecker of O'Neill are looking to help NECC advance to the national tournament this season after nearly missing out by losing in the finals of the Region XI-B tournament in 2015.
Joining the Holt County crew are sophomores Tabitha Kander and Kelsey Shoemaker of Stanton, Layne Mitchell of Norfolk and Nicki Stolzer of Omaha. Joining the team as freshman are Courtney Labenz of Columbus, Taylor Lammers of Hartington, Caitlin McLouth of Tyndall, SD, Faith Molacek of Howells, Molly Oligmueller of Alliance, Peyton Roach of Wayne, Macy Stewart of Shelby and Jordan Vogt of Creston.
The Hawks went 17-17 last season, their fourth since the program was reinstated, under the direction of Amanda Schultze. Schultze has high hopes for the team this season.
“With the experience and knowledge of our returners, we should have a good sense of what to expect this season,” said Schultze. “These returners are very talented, and I’m excited to see where they can take the team this year. The incoming players are also very talented in their positions and will definitely challenge the sophomores.”
Last season, Kander played 133 sets and recorded 266 kills, 159 digs and 23 blocks. Kunz played 123 sets and had 282 kills and 78 blocks. Mitchell played 124 sets and recorded 147 kills, 63 blocks and 24 ace serves, while Shoemaker played 133 sets and registered 286 kills with 111 blocks. Stolzer played 20 sets and had 12 kills, 31 digs and 2 aces. Wecker played 132 sets and recorded 21 kills, 35 ace serves and 507 digs.
Schultze said that she sees hard work and improvement thus far in practice.
“Preseason practice is underway and has gotten off to a great start. There are some areas we need to improve in, but the team is working hard and staying focused during practices.”
Joining Schultze on the sidelines will be assistant coach Sarah Oligmueller and volunteer assistant Haley Roelle. Lauren Hirsch of Juneau, Wis. will serve as the team's student manager.
Northeast opens the season when it faces Concordia JV on Wednesday, August 24, at 7 p.m. in the Cox Activities Center on the Norfolk campus.