By Dan Miller
When HC women’s volleyball beat then-ranked No. 11 Doane at home earlier this month, all eyes were on them. The Broncos almost immediately jumped into the top ten and are now ranked at No. 7 after a consistent winning streak, most recently against GPAC rival Northwestern College at home last Saturday.
“We have some experienced players and some good athletes and we are making good decisions on the court,” said Matt Buttermore, HC head volleyball coach. “There were some early tests and if we passed those tests I thought we would be a good team; and so we passed most of them and the girls have a lot of confidence now, so we will continue to be a good team.”
There’s no doubt that leadership has helped to turn the team into the powerhouse it has recently become. Three captains lead the Broncos: senior Hayley Beardsley, junior Shayna Schacher and senior Kendra Schwein. Seniors Carissa Kinne and Kirsten Nickel also help set goals for the team and lead by example on the court.
Leading players really stepped up at the beginning of the month, as demonstrated when Kendra Schwein was named NAIA volleyball player of the week on Sept. 11. Schwein was selected based on her performance in the first week of September in which she posted 65 kills, 29 digs and a .247 attack percentage in the four matches the Broncos played.
“I’m not surprised,” Buttermore said. “She has a lot of physical ability. She is an aggressive player and a tough competitor and she wants to win everything she does. She scores a lot of points and it’s a testament to her hard work and her dedication that she was honored in that way.”
The Broncos’ next challenge is their five upcoming games against GPAC competition. This includes top 25 teams in No. 21 Midland on Oct. 3 and No. 14 Doane on Oct. 9.
“It’s a tough conference, so it makes it fun. We have to prepare for every match in regards to who we are playing,” Buttermore said. “That makes it exciting and I enjoy the challenge. It makes it worthwhile to have good teams to play.”
The Broncos travel to Sioux City, IA to take on Briar Cliff University this Saturday. Their next home game is against Morningside College Oct. 6 at 4:30 p.m.