Sophomore Cassidy Crist is the NJCAA Offensive Volleyball Player of the Week, an honor that came as no surprise to Kansas City Kansas Community Coach Mary Bruno-Ballou.
"Her statistics thus far are ridiculous," says Bruno-Ballou. "For most players, 2 to 2½ kills a set is a good game. She's averaging 5.2 kills a set. Our hitting average is about 2.00, hers is 3.66. And she's second on our team in digs with 30. Being Player of the Week is a huge honor and accomplishment to her work ethic and mental toughness. We love having her in our program."
Crist learned of her Player of the Week award at practice Wednesday. "A total surprise. I didn't even know what it was," she says. Crist is also the Jayhawk Conference Player of the Week.
The Blue Devils are off to a 2-1 start this season, the lone loss coming at the hands of No. 14 ranked Lincoln Land in the opening triangular of the season. The highlight came Tuesday, a 3-0 upset at Cloud County, which entered the game ranked 21st nationally. "That was a pretty fun win, especially since we didn't have our starting middle and had others playing the position," said Crist.
Bruno-Ballou says Crist's ability as an outside hitter to track down out of the system or junk balls sets her apart from the average player. "Outside hitters are the outlet. They don't get the perfect set but she's turning out of system balls into kills. And as a six-rotation athlete, she does not come off the court."
Idled for more than a year because of the COVID Pandemic, Crist rebounded quickly. "It's hard to not play in over a year and bounce back but she has that ability to find her passion and fully commit to it," says Bruno-Ballou.
A 6-0 sophomore who played at DeSoto High School, Bruno-Ballou targeted Crist early after seeing her play on the club circuit. "I loved her athleticism and the way she played for the true love of the game," said Bruno-Ballou.
Although there were other options, the decision was easy for Crist. "I was pretty focused all the way," she says. "It's a good school, I like the coaches a lot. They work us hard but it's a lot of fun. And I live in Shawnee so I can live at home." Her recruitment came with total family support. Her mother, Lynn, aided in the recruiting process; her father, Mike, put together highlight videos. There are also two younger sisters, Ally and Lydia, a volleyball player at St. James Academy.
Crist, who is looking at Childhood Education as a possible career, is hopeful of continuing her volleyball at a four-year college but because of the Pandemic, she has an option only current players have – an additional year at KCKCC, something she will consider.
Coffeyville Community College Sports Information