The Larks finish record-breaking volleyball season

by Kymee Noll – Horizon Sports Editor

It’s never easy to end a season with a loss, especially when the season surpasses everyone’s expectations.  The Hesston College volleyball team did just that, ending the 2014 season with a 21-8 record, a complete turnaround from the 2013 season record of 4-23.

Fourth-year coach Jessica Cleveland was honored to lead this team, to say the least.

“This team has made me proud in so many ways,” said Cleveland.  “Finishing games with wins after being behind, upsetting nationally-ranked Fort Scott, and representing the campus and team in a positive way.”

Cleveland said she believes God brought this team together for a reason and has enjoyed the exciting experience.

The starters huddle up for their pregame prayer. Photo by Masayo Satoh.

After last year’s devastating season consisting of lack of players, forfeits, and turmoil, Cleveland was unsure of what the future would hold.

“With nine new incoming freshmen you never know what kind of season you are going to have,” said Cleveland.  “After our first tournament in Texas, things were looking very optimistic.  The team set the standard high and had a competitiveness that took them to a different level.”

The Larks finished sixth out of 12 teams in their region, qualifying them for postseason play.  The team played at Kansas City Kansas Community College and lost out first round to third seed, Fort Scott Community College (Kan.), in three sets.

The crowd celebrating after the Larks won a point over Dodge City (Kan.). Photo by Masayo Satoh.

Because of the small sophomore class, Cleveland has high expectations for the 2015 season next fall. She thinks they’ll be able to start where they left off.

“The sophomores have good leadership qualities with big hearts to restart a new season,” said Cleveland.  “They are the foundation to a new legacy that is in place.”

Jeff Baumgartner, Hesston College math instructor and fan of the Larks’ volleyball team, was able to attend many home games.

“I enjoy watching my students and advisees participate in activities outside of the classroom,” Baumgartner said.  “There are many parents who do not get many opportunities to see their children participate in college activities so I, as many others, like to attend events to provide some of the support students may feel they are missing.”

Samantha Rimann (Liberty Hill, Tex.) passing a serve receive ball during a home game. Photo by Masayo Satoh.

When asked about the team and the atmosphere they produced for the crowd, Baumgartner said the games were always exciting.

“Probably my favorite game of the season was the win against nationally ranked Fort Scott in three sets,”  said Baumgartner.  “It seemed like there were always a lot of students as well as community members attending the matches, which made for a good atmosphere.”

Another dedicated fan of the volleyball team was freshman student and friend of many ladies on

Christy Swartzendruber (Shickley, Neb.) goes up for a kill in a home game. Photo by Masayo Satoh.

the team, Molly Brunner.

“I really enjoyed watching the games because I love watching our girls break down the other

teams by being able to set up the play and work together,” said Brunner.  “It always makes a game better when the crowd is pumped up, so I try to make that happen.”

Along with an outstanding record, there were several girls on the team shattering the Hesston College record boards.

Sophomore libero Samantha Rimann (Liberty Hill, Tex.) now sits number one on Hesston College’s total career digs records with 899.  Along with the career record, Rimann now also holds the number one spot on the season stats board; for two separate stats.  Rimann now owns Hesston’s record for total season digs with 550 and digs/set with 5.24.

Casey Perez (Kalona, Iowa) setting the ball in a home game. Photo by Masayo Satoh.

Swartzendruber now has a spot on three different season stats for Hesston’s records.  She sits 10th for total kills at 326, sixth for kills per set with 3.33, and eighth in digs per set with 3.36.Two other team

Perez holds two record spots for Hesston’s season record boards.  She holds the seventh spot for two different stats, total assists at 740 and assists per set at 7.40members broke records as well as earned a spot on the 2014 All-Region Division II District Selection team.  Freshman outside hitter Christy Swartzendruber (Shickley, Neb.) and freshman setter Casey Perez (Kalona, Iowa) made first team and second team, respectively.


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