After struggling with low numbers in spring, Hawks have regular fall roster | Select

After struggling with low numbers in spring, Hawks have regular fall roster | Select

Northeast Community College volleyball coach Amanda Schultze is happy to be playing volleyball in the fall.

“It’s kind of weird to actually be doing a normal season now. Hopefully, everything goes smooth,” she said.

The 2020 season was moved to the spring of ’21. As a result, the Hawks played with a roster most nights of just seven or eight players.

“Some of (our players) graduated in December. We were able to get a few to stay, but it just wasn’t our normal Northeast team.

“But, we made it work. We did what we could and worked hard through it.”

After qualifying for the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II national tournament in each of the previous four seasons, the spring of ’21 Hawks finished 7-16.

“I think it was a good experience for some of them to step to the plate, because I had eight on the team, so most of them had to play,” Schultze said. “It’s just nice to have a full roster and playing 6-on-6 and just seeing the potential for this year.”

Schultze has five sophomores around which to build the fall ’21 team, including outside hitter Elizabeth Christensen of Stanton.

“She’ll be a third-year player for us,” Schultze said. “COVID year, they didn’t lose a year of eligibility and she wanted to play again, which is awesome.”

Schultze said Christensen played multiple positions in the spring and, during her freshman year, she was a defensive specialist.

“She’s a strong leader, very vocal and makes everybody feel comfortable on the court,” Schultze said.

Another sophomore, Alexis Kapales, is also in her third year. She played for Northeast last spring after competing for Labette Community College of Jonesboro, Arkansas, during her freshman season.

“She was our libero last year, and we’re looking to her for some leadership in that role,” Schultze said.

Makayla Forsberg of Laurel-Concord-Coleridge played middle last year, but Schultze said she’s getting practice time as a right-side hitter.

“She’s a smart player,” her coach said. “She’s consistent, and she can find the holes on the court.”

North Platte St. Patrick’s grad Kinsey Skillstad has played both defensive specialist and at the net. “She can kind of do both,” Schultze said. “She’s somebody on the court that talks a lot, she’s goofy, just a fun kid to be around.”

And Taylor Stelling of Milford is back on the right side. “She’s a good blocker, good attacker. She does everything right,” Schultze said. “She improved a ton last year, and I look for her to improve more this year, as well.”

Schultze is happy to welcome eight freshmen to the program.

Danielle Wadsworth of Central Valley and Wolbach will play outside. Schultze said she’s a six-rotation player. “She plays really good defense, can pass well and can be aggressive at the net offensively.”

Wynot setter Edyn Sudbeck was a late commitment. “She has a lot of talent, and she comes from a great program,” Schultze said.

Lauren Kavan of Wahoo will play on the right side. “She really knows the game, can hit different shots from the right side and can step in and set if she has to take the second ball,” Schultze said.

Other freshmen looking to break into the lineup include outside hitter Brooke Bannister of Marquette and High Plains High School, middles Emily Rasmussen of Homer and Rachel Ecklund of Overton, and defensive specialists Naomi Simones of Murray and Conestoga High School and Bailey Lemburg of Clarkson and Clarkson/Leigh.

Schultze said she recruits players who are hard workers and team-oriented and likes to remind potential Hawks of the program’s recent success.

“We’ve made it to the national tournament four out of the last five years, and I’m going to push you to get to the next level.

“It’s a big difference between high school and college and once they realize that and get it, they can really focus in on what they’re best at and what we need them for.”

Northeast community college roster

Sophomores: Kinsey Skillstad, Makayla Forsberg, Alexis Kapales, Taylor Stelling and Elizabeth Christensen

Freshmen: Emily Rasmussen, Danielle Wadsworth, Brooke Bannister, Edyn Sudbeck, Lauren Kavan, Naomi Simones, Rachel Ecklund and Bailey Lemburg

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