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2020-21 KCKCC Women's Volleyball News

    February 09, 2021
    Kansas City Kansas Community College took down another perennial Jayhawk Conference volleyball power Monday, rallying for a 3-1 win over Cowley County in Arkansas City. “My first victory over Cowley ever,” said a jubilant Mary Bruno-Ballou, who is in her 10th season as Blue Devil head coach. “We’ve played quite a few 5-set matches with them but never come away with a W.” Earlier this season, the Blue Devils posted their first win over Coffeyville in at least a half-dozen years. The Blue Devils defeated Cowley by becoming from behind. After dropping a 25-23 opening set, the Blue Devils bounced back to go ahead with a pair of 25-22 wins and then wrapped up the match with a decisive 25-17 win. The win tightened KCKCC’s hold on fourth place (4-2) in the Jayhawk Conference behind co-leaders Johnson County and Neosho County, both 4-0; and Highland, 5-1. Overall, the Blue Devils are 5-3 with all three losses to ranked teams – No. 6 JCCC, No. 12 Neosho and No. 15 Lincoln Land. The Blue Devils are home for two more matches this week, against Labette Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and Fort Scott Saturday at noon. Both matches will be streamed on the KCKCC Blue Devil website. The match was highlighted by duels between four national leaders. KCKCC’S Cassidy Crist, who leads the NJCAA DII in kills, had 15 while national assist leader Adriana Velez had 40. Crist took a 120-103 lead in kills over runneup Iva Halacheva of Cowley into the match; Velez led Cowley’s Gracie Story 250-227 for the national lead in assists. Halacheva had 15 kills, Story 42 assists Monday. The two Blue Devil sophomores got plenty of help from Michelle Dvorak, who had 11 kills; Mia Tomasic, 8 kills; and Justice Davis, 6 kills. “We played excellent as a group; 11 blocks as a team,” said Bruno-Ballou. “The girls are having fun playing and it’s showing. The greatest group of kids around. Our bench brings so much energy and enthusiasm. We aren’t the team we are without them.” While unranked in the national poll, only one Top 20 team has more wins than KCKCC’s five. “With two national leaders, it’s odd we’re not ranked because we are playing excellent volleyball and working hard,” said
    February 01, 2021
    It’s been a week like no other for Kansas City Kansas Community volleyball, On Tuesday, the Blue Devils shook up the Jayhawk Conference with an impressive 3-0 whitewashing of No. 21 ranked Cloud County in Concordia. On Wednesday, sophomore Cassidy Crist was named NJCAA DII National Offensive Player of the Week. And on Thursday, the best of all, a 3-2 upset of No. 2 ranked Coffeyville that will jolt the NJCAA national poll to its very core. “Very exciting; very happy, super proud of an excellent week,” said 10-year KCKCC Coach Mary Bruno-Ballou, who couldn’t remember the last time she had a win over one of the nation’s perennial powers. “Maybe 2014. I’m not sure.” The Blue Devils jumped in front 25-20 in the opening set and nearly came from nine points back in the second set before falling 26-24, “A great comeback to tie the game,” said Bruno-Ballou. The Blue Devils went back in front 2-1, winning the third set 25-19, but let a 7-point lead get away in the fourth set, losing 25-21. The Red Ravens took a 5-1 lead in the fifth and final set before the Blue Devils stepped on the gas with a 14-4 run and 15-9 win. “We got excellent serving in that run including a great run by freshman Kelsey Hund,” said Bruno-Ballou. Crist, who leads the nation in kills, had 21 and Mia Tomasic 15. “Both were outstanding and our setter, Adriana Velez, had an outstanding all-around performance,” said Bruno-Ballou. “This team is playing hard, playing resilient and finding ways to win.” The outstanding play comes despite the fact the Blue Devils by local rule were not allowed to have 6-on-6 practices. “So we’ve really only had three weeks of game play while just about every other school has been playing since August,” said Bruno-Ballou. Her only disappointment Thursday were unforced hitting, serving and receiving errors that allowed Coffeyville to get in position to win sets two and four. “We’re playing at a great level and earning a lot of points,” said Bruno-Ballou. “If we can just control those unforced errors, we can take this season to a new level” There will be no rest, however. The Blue Devils open their home season Monday against their oldest and bitterest rival, Johnson County, the favorite in the Jayhawk Conference and ranked No. 11 nationally. Monday’s match will be screamed on the KCKCC Blue Devil website. PHOTO IDENT Sophomore middle blocker Michelle Dvorak goes high to return a volley while teammates Madi Hajek (1) and Mia Tomasic (11) look on in KCKCC’s stunning 3-2 upset of No. 2 ranked Coffeyville Thursday. (Photo courtesy Coffeyville Sports Information)
  • Volleyball Sweeps Cloud
    January 28, 2021
    Blue Devils Get Gratifying Volleyball Upset On The Road
    January 22, 2021
    Kansas City Kansas Community College will enter the first spring volleyball season in history ranked No. 24 in the national poll of NJCAA Division II colleges. Unfortunately, six other members of the Jayhawk Conference are also ranked among the nation’s top 24 teams headed by No. 2 Coffeyville and No. 3 Cowley College. Johnson County is No. 11, Highland No. 12, Fort Scott No. 19 and Cloud County No. 21. “The toughest conference in Division II volleyball,” says KCKCC Coach Mary Bruno-Ballou. Ironically, the Blue Devils are No. 5 in the Jayhawk pre-season poll ahead of Coffeyville (No. 6) and Fort Scott (No. 7). Johnson County has been tabbed the pre-season favorite followed by Cowley, Highland, Cloud and KCKCC. The Blue Devils open play this weekend, facing No. 14 Lincoln Land and Metropolitan on Metro’s Longview campus Saturday and then open conference play at Cloud on Monday. Because of the Covid-19 Pandemic, fall competition was pushed back to this spring for the first time ever. “I know our student-athletes did not sign up or envision this as their collegiate playing experience, yet the resiliency and unwavering spirit of our players and staff has been all inspiring,” says Bruno-Ballou. “They show up every day with heart and dedication. We truly have one of our best groups of athletes. Their character is unmatched and their flexibility to be able to step on the court and compete is amazingly positive.” In her 10th season as head coach, Bruno-Ballou has her biggest squad, 20 players when healthy. Seven are sophomores headed by 6-0 outside hitter Cassidy Crist of DeSoto, 5-11 middle blocker Michelle Dvorak of Park Hill South and 5-6 setter Adriana Velez along with 6-0 right side Justice Davis of Albuquerque and defensive specialist Nicole Almestica. “Cassidy Crist is a force to be reckoned with in this conference; definitely one of our most dynamic athletes and the highest vertical on the team,” says Bruno-Ballou. “Captain Michelle Dvorak has already committed to Saint Mary and will hold down the middle. Captain Adriana Velez will be our starting setter with the ability to run the court well while we expect great contributions from Justice Davis, who played the right side last season before being injured.” Unfortunately, two key returning sophomores, 6-2 Captain Jordan Johnson and 6-0 McKenna Johnson of Shawnee, suffered non-volleyball injuries in the off-season. “Both were going to be contributors,” says Bruno-Ballou. “We’re hoping to get them sometime this spring.” Because of their injuries, the Blue Devils have only one other middle hitter, 5-10 Nicole Hughes of Denver. “Her athleticism and ceiling are so high,” says Bruno-Ballou. Three freshmen will compete on the outside and right side – 5-10 Mia Tomasic from St. Teresa Academy, 5-9 Trinity Holland of Fort Worth and Jo-Annie Perez of Puerto Rico. “All three bring excellent playing qualities.” Freshmen Megan Bechtold of Haysville and Patricia Kolodziejczyk of Spain will back up Velez at the setter position along with versatile Abigail Marcouillier of Tonganoxie, who has the flexibility to play almost every position. Strength, asserts Bruno-Ballou, will be the Blue Devil defense. “The best defensive corps we have had in recent years; each one has the ability to step in and wear the libero jersey,” That group includes Kelcey Hund of Leavenworth, Madi Hajek of Oklahoma City, Jessica Rodrigues, Nicole Almestica and Marcouillier. One of the biggest additions this spring has been new assistant Asya Herron, who brings 12 years of Jayhawk Conference at Neosho County. “Her knowledge, competitiveness and passion bring the greatest additions we could imagine,” says Bruno-Ballou. “She understands what is needed to be successful in this conference and shows up every day full of enthusiasm and love of the game.” Additional experience comes with Dee Bruno, in her 13th season coaching KCKCC volleyball. “Her knowledge and love of the game along with her sense of humor is a benefit to our program. We have one of the most knowledgeable and player-focused coaching groups in the NJCAA.” PHOTO IDENT Eight sophomores will provide leadership to the 2021 KCKCC volleyball team – (front row, from left) Nicole Almestica, Justice Davis, Adriana Velez and Cassidy Crist; (second row) Mia Tomasic, Jordan Johnson, Michelle Dvorak and McKenna Johnson. (KCKCC Photo)