Mary Bruno-Ballou got her 200th career volleyball win at Kansas City Kansas Community College Thursday with a performance she'll long remember.
Trailing Metropolitan Community College 2-0, the Blue Demons stormed back to dominate the next three sets 25-17, 25-16, 15-11 and win No. 200 for the 10-year Blue Devil mentor. The win came on the heels of a 3-0 win over Cowley College earlier in the evening.
"It is fitting that my 200th win would come with this group of athletes – and being down 0-2 and finding a way to win in epic fashion," said Bruno-Ballou. "I can't say enough about this group of athletes Their resilience and drive to win is unmatched. They are determined and hard working and can overcome any obstacle in their way."
The Blue Devils had at least 13 kills in each of the first four sets against Metro, which won the first two sets 25-22, 26-24, Cassidy Crist had 26 kills, Michelle Dvorak 19, Trinity Holland 9 and Nicole Hughes 7 while the national NJCAA DII leader in assists, Adriana Velez, had a career high 60. Five Blue Devils had 10 or more digs – Kelcey Hund 22, Mia Tomasic 20, Velez 18, Crist 15 and Jo-Annie Perez 10.
The Blue Devils made short work of Cowley in the opening match of the triangular, completing a season sweep of the Tigers 25-19, 25-15 and 25-16. "Played fantastic and never let them get started," said Bruno-Ballou. "Great execution of the game plan." Crist had 14 kills and Dvorak 12; Velez recorded 35 of the Blue Devils' 38 assists; and Hund and Velez each had nine digs, Crist eight and Perez seven.
The two wins stretched the Blue Devils' winning streak to four in a row heading into a stretch of three road matches in just six days – at Hesston Saturday at 11 a.m., at Labette Monday and at Fort Scott Thursday, both at 6:30 p.m. The win over Cowley pulled KCKCC (11-7) into a fourth place tie with Fort Scott for fourth in the Jayhawk Conference at 9-6.
The 200 wins are the most recorded by any Blue Devil volleyball coach. "So incredibly humbled to have reached this honor in my career at KCKCC," said Bruno-Ballou. "They gave me the opportunity at age 24 to be head coach and I am eternally grateful for their continued faith in me for the last 10 seasons, Our support staff is the best in the business and I'm so thankful for all of my assistant coaches throughout the years in more ways that can be counted.
"But in the end this number isn't about me. It's about all the athletes who have made KCKCC volleyball their home over the past 10 years. Their sacrifice, hard work and dedication has helped to create a wining culture and made KCKCC volleyball a Top 20 program."