Volleyball News Archive 2016-2017

Brenneman signs with Hesston College Volleyball

Hesston College volleyball coach DeeDee Landes announces Kylie Brenneman, a 5’3″ defensive specialist from Hesston (Kan.) High School, as the latest member of the Larks’ 2016 recruiting class.

A three-sport letter-winner at Hesston High, Brenneman helped Hesston High Volleyball to a third-place finish at the state tournament her senior year. She was an all-Central Kansas League honorable mention selection and is a four-time member of the Principal’s Honor Roll. Brenneman will study business at Hesston College.

“Kylie is a great addition to our program,” Landes said. “I’m excited to see her adjust to the college game and contribute to our team. She’s a tremendous athlete who has the potential to make an early contribution to this year’s team.”

Brenneman attends Hesston (Kan.) Mennonite Church and is active in the youth group there. She is the daughter of Jim and Christy Brenneman, Hesston.

Swartzendruber, Hansen honored as Hesston College’s Top Student Athletes

Christy Swartzendruber, a sophomore women’s volleyball player, and Jake Hansen, a sophomore men’s basketball player, were named 2016 male and female Hesston College Student Athletes of the Year at the school’s annual Athletic Banquet.

Swartzendruber, Shickley, Neb., a two-time all-region player and Hesston Volleyball’s all-time leader in digs, was a huge contributor the last two seasons in which the Larks won 21 games each year.

“Playing volleyball at Hesston has allowed me to connect with people and broaden my friend circle,” Swartzendruber said. “Seeing how the community and the students came to support us was amazing. We had amazing team chemistry this year and I’m going to miss all the great times we had.”

Hansen, Effingham, Kan., was twice awarded the team’s Defensive Player of the Year. He contributed over 450 points and 300 rebounds in his career.

“Throughout my two years here I’ve been put in situations that have set me up for success,” Hansen said. “I’ve learned a good work ethic in the classroom and have a have a strong base to work from. The most important take away for me has been the family that I made with my teammates and also the friends I’ve made off the court.”

“Christy had a huge impact on our team on and off the court,” said coach DeeDee Landes. “She is well respected by her teammates and peers and is the epitome of a fantastic Hesston College student athlete.”

“Jake is a winner on and off the floor,” said Hesston coach Dustin Galyon. “He’s played a vital role in elevating our program. Jake was a captain this year and was a big part of our run to the national tournament as a freshman. More importantly, Jake is a phenomenal representative of our program and college. He is a selfless leader who has impacted many on our campus.”

Swartzendruber and Hansen succeed last year’s winners Samantha Rimann, Liberty Hill, Texas, and Malcolm Mann, Plano, Texas.

Volleyball adds more talent to incoming class

Hesston College volleyball coach DeeDee Landes announces Haley Unruh, a 5’10” middle hitter/blocker from South Central High School (Coldwater, Kan.), as the newest addition to the Hesston program.

A first-team all-league selection as a senior, Unruh was a key part of South Central’s sub-state championship in 2015. Aside from volleyball, she played varsity basketball and golf.

Unruh will study elementary education at Hesston. She has been named to the honor roll several times at South Central High.

“We’re excited to have Haley join our team,” Landes said. “She’s a versatile front-row player and is eager to take her volleyball skills to the next level. She has a strong work ethic and it will be fun to watch her grow as a player. Haley is a great addition to our team and campus.”

Unruh leads worship and teaches Sunday school at her church. She is the daughter of Wendell and Saundra Unruh, Wilmore, Kan.

Landes named new volleyball coach

Hesston College athletic director Rob Ramseyer introduces DeeDee Landes as head coach of the Larks volleyball program.

“We received a great deal of interest in this position,” Ramseyer said. “DeeDee emerged as our best candidate due to her commitment to the mission of Hesston College, care for students and her passion for the game of volleyball.”

Landes, a 2002 Hesston graduate, has served the program for the past three years as an assistant. She was an NJCAA All-American during her time on the court with the Larks.

“I’m so excited to be taking on this new venture,” Landes said. “I love the sport and look forward to building relationships and winning games.”

Landes succeeds Jessica Cleveland at the helm of a program coming off back-to-back 21-win seasons.

“Hesston College Volleyball is at an excellent place and I look forward to building from here,” Landes said. “I expect to bring players to Hesston that will fit both the mission of the college and the volleyball program.”

Larks sign all-state setter

Hesston College Volleyball announces Alyssa Booton, a 5’8″ setter from Goessel (Kan.) High School, as the latest member of the Larks’ 2016 recruiting class. Booton joins Goessel teammate Alicen Meysing in Hesston’s recruiting class.

A two-time first-team all-state setter, Booton was a three-time all-league performer at Goessel, helping the Bluebirds to a perfect 44-0 state-championship season in 2015. She holds the all-time assist record for the Goessel program.

Booton, a High Honor Roll student, will study nursing at Hesston. She is the daughter of Kelly and Jill Booton, Goessel.

Booton attends Hillsboro (Kan.) United Methodist Church.

Volleyball opens signing period by adding local talent

Hesston College volleyball coach Jessica Cleveland announces Alicen Meysing, a 6’0″ right-side hitter from Goessel (Kan.) High School, as the first member of the Larks’ 2016 recruiting class.

Meysing, a two-time second-team all-state and first-team all-league performer, brings height and athleticism to the net. She was selected to the Kansas Volleyball Association all-state tournament team the last two years and was a key part of an undefeated state champion Goessel High program in 2015.

A KVA all-Academic Team selection and Kansas Honors Scholar, Meysing will study journalism at Hesston College.

“We’re excited to announce Alicen’s addition,” Cleveland said. “She has a strong presence at the net and knows how to make big plays. Her spunky personality will add a fun and comical relief to the court. She comes from a strong program and knows how to win. We’re excited to get her in the gym.”

Meysing is the daughter of Greg and Darla Meysing, Goessel. She attends St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Newton, Kan.

Larks wrap up impressive 2015 season

The Hesston College volleyball team saw its season end with a loss to Coffeyville (Kan.) CC in the first round of NJCAA Region VI postseason action on Saturday, Nov. 7. Despite the setback, Lark fans look back on another outstanding season by Hesston Volleyball and Head Coach Jessica Cleveland.

The Larks went 21-12 in 2015, with seven of its losses coming to nationally-ranked opponents. This is the second year in a row Hesston has topped the 20-win mark. Sophomores Christy Swartzendruber (Shickley, Neb.) and Casey Perez (Kalona, Iowa) were named first-team all-Region players, while freshman Kortney Cunningham (Almena, Kan.) earned second-team honors.

Swartzendruber demonstrated her versatility by breaking the single season digs mark (552) from her outside hitter position, while Perez racked up 960 assists (3rd all-time) in 2015 for a career total of 1,700, good for 2nd all-time.

The Larks were dealt a heavy blow with a season-ending knee injury in early September to sophomore leader and key middle hitter Karli Rodriguez (Harker Heights, Texas). Cleveland cited strong team chemistry and sophomore leadership as main reasons the Larks were able to weather the storm and keep moving forward despite the loss.

“There are many highlights to our 2015 season,” Cleveland said. “The team really came together early and developed an amazing bond. It was fun to watch and I’m very proud of this team on and off the court. This is a season to never forget.”

Larks close regular season with comeback win

The Hesston College volleyball team won a five-set comeback match at Pratt (Kan.) CC on Tuesday, Nov. 2, closing out an impressive 21-11 regular season.

After splitting the first two sets (14-25, 25-20) Pratt took a 2-1 lead with a 25-23 third-set win. With its back against the wall, Hesston Volleyball responded with a dominating 25-12 fourth set before earning the win in a 15-12 final.

Kristi Swartzendruber (Shickley, Neb.) and Jessanna Nebel (Hesston, Kan.) had 12 and 11 kills, respectively, while Casey Perez (Kalona, Iowa) added six kills and racked up 42 assists.

Swartzendruber and Nebel also led the Hesston defense in digs with 27 and 21. Perez had 15 digs. Desi Newman (Archbold, Ohio) added 14.

The sixth seed in the upcoming Region VI tournament, the Larks face third-seeded Coffeyville (Kan.) CC at noon on Saturday, Nov. 7. The tournament is hosted by second-seeded Cowley College (Arkansas City).

Coffeyville edges Hesston in five-set thriller

The Hesston College volleyball team dropped a five-set match to seventh-ranked Coffeyville (Kan) CC on Wednesday, Oct. 28, snapping the Larks five-game winning streak.

Hesston came out strong and claimed the first set by a 27-25 count before the Ravens won 25-21 to even the match at 1-1. The teams traded 25-23 wins in the next two sets to force a fifth set, won by Coffeyville 15-8.

Despite the loss, Hesston Volleyball has built momentum as postseason play draws near, as Head Coach Jessica Cleveland has guided the Larks to consecutive 20-win seasons.

20-11 on the year, Hesston travels to Pratt (Kan.) CC for a 6:30 p.m. match on Monday, Nov. 2.

Volleyball picks up huge road win

The Hesston College volleyball team knocked off Neosho County CC (Chanute, Kan.) in four sets (25-22, 25-16, 19-25, 27-25) on Wednesday, Oct. 14 to improve to 16-10 on the year. The win lifts Hesston to 4-4 in Region VI play with two region matches remaining.

After winning the first two sets, Neosho responded with a third-set victory and took an early lead in the fourth. The Larks battled back and seemed on the cusp of the match win with a 24-21 lead before Neosho rallied with four straight points to put the Panthers ahead 25-24. A Neosho serve sailed long, however, giving the Larks the serve at 25-25. Hesston quickly put the set away to secured the road win.

Hesston returns home for a 6:30 match against Tabor College JV on Friday, Oct. 16. The Power of Pink match serves as a breast cancer awareness event with all proceeds going to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Volleyball to host Breast Cancer Awareness Month fundraiser

The Hesston College volleyball team hosts Tabor College JV (Hillsboro, Kan.) for a 6:30 p.m. match on Friday, Oct. 16. The match will serve as a backdrop for Power of Pink, a fundraiser in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. All proceeds from the gate will be contributed to The Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Hesston College Volleyball joins a multitude of athletics programs throughout the country that contribute, through October sporting events, to this worldwide cause. The Larks, in the midst of a 14-7 season, will wear custom pink jerseys in honor of breast cancer awareness.

“This is the first year I decided to host a breast cancer awareness event,” said Hesston head coach Jessica Cleveland. “A good friend and former college teammate was diagnosed with breast cancer this summer at the age of 27, and so it hit home for me. The more money we raise the more research can be done for this disease that affects everybody in some way.”

The Power of Pink event will include other special activities in addition to the volleyball match. Student-athletes will toss signed pink balls during introductions and a t-shirt serving contest will occur between the second and third sets. The first 75 students admitted will receive a free commemorative t-shirt. Name tags will be available at the door for attendees to write down the names of loved ones impacted by breast cancer. In addition to 100 percent of the gate going to The Susan G. Komen Foundation, a 50/50 raffle will be held with those proceeds also slated for the foundation.

“We’re expecting a big crowd in support of Hesston College Volleyball and this great cause,” said Hesston athletic director Rob Ramseyer. “The battle with breast cancer affects so many people. This donation and the added awareness are small ways we can contribute to the larger effort.”

Larks storm through Indy for third straight win

The Hesston College volleyball team made short work of Independence (Kan.) CC on Tuesday, Oct. 6, winning in three sets (25-18, 25-14, 25-12) to improve to 14-7 on the year and 3-4 in Region VI play.

Jacey Guy (Meriden, Kan.), Kortney Cunningham (Almena, Kan.) and Christy Swartzendruber (Shickley, Neb.) had seven kills apiece. Sophomore setter Casey Perez (Kalona, Iowa) had 24 assists.

Hesston freshman libero Emily McMichael led with 17 digs while Swatrzendruber added 12.

Winners of its last three matches, the Larks look to stay hot as they compete in the Des Moines Area CC Tournament (Boone, Iowa) Oct. 9-to-10.

Larks cruise through Southeast Tri; now 13-7 on the year

The Hesston College volleyball team won a pair of matches at the Southeast CC (Beatrice, Neb.) Tri, held Saturday, Oct. 3. The Larks breezed through the morning match with host Southeast in three sets (25-20, 25-11, 25-19) before smashing Region VI member Independence (Kan) CC (25-18, 25-8, 25-20) on Saturday afternoon to improve to 13-7 on the year.

Against Southeast, Desi Newman (Archbold, Ohio) had eight kills in 15 error-free attempts for a .533 hitting percentage. Casey Perez (Kalona, Iowa) had 17 assists.

On the defensive end, Christy Swartzendruber (Shickley, Neb.) led with 13 digs while Kortney Cunningham (Almena, Kan.) assisted on three blocks.

In the afternoon match, Cunningham recorded an impressive .615 hitting percentage (eight kills in 13 attempts) while Perez dished out 27 assists. Swartzendruber again led with 11 digs. Cunningham and Jessanna Nebel (Hesston, Kan.) had two solo blocks each.

The Larks return home for a 6:30 p.m. rematch with Independence (Kan.) CC on Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Volleyball back on track after two wins in Tri

The Hesston College volleyball team upped its season record to 11-6 following a pair of four-set wins over Pratt (Kan.) CC and Southeast CC (Beatrice, Neb.) on Saturday, Sept. 26.

Coming into the Tri having dropped three of its last four matches, Hesston overcame a slow start (22-25 in the first set) against Pratt to dominate the Beavers (25-21, 25-20, 25-14) the rest of the way and earn its 10th win of the year.

Jessanna Nebel (Hesston, Kan.) and Christy Swartzendruber (Shickley, Neb.) each had 10 kills, with Nebel hitting at a .476 clip (10-for-21). Casey Perez (Kalona, Iowa) dished out 34 assists and added a pair of kills.

On the defensive end, Swartzendruber ended with 25 digs while Kourtney Cunningham (Almena, Kan.) had three solo blocks.

Playing in front of a big homecoming crowd in the 3 p.m. match versus Southeast, the Larks picked up another win (25-16, 24-26, 25-22, 25-16) to close the Tri. Swartzendruber, an all-region player a year ago, led Hesston with 12 kills and 15 digs. Perez capped a big day with 32 more assists.

Emily McMichael (Fort Worth, Texas) added 13 digs, while Cunningham contributed a solo block and assisted on two others.

The Larks travel to Fort Scott (Kan.) CC for a key Region VI match at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 30.

Larks dominate Clarendon to win fourth straight

The Hesston College volleyball team posted an impressive three-set win (25-12, 25-5, 25-19) over Clarendon (Texas) College on Friday, Sept. 11 to improve to 8-3 on the year.

Jacey Guy (Meriden, Kan.) recorded a team-high 11 kills and Casey Perez (Kalona, Iowa) dished out 12 assists in the lopsided win. Emily McMichael (Fort Worth, Texas) and Perez had 11 and 10 digs, respectively. Desi Newman (Archbold, Ohio) and Kortney Cunningham (Almena, Kan.) assisted on three blocks each.

Winners of four straight, Hesston Volleyball hosts regional power and nationally-ranked Cowley College (Arkansas City, Kan.) for a 6:30 p.m. match on Monday, Sept. 14. The Tigers (3-0) and Larks (2-0) are both unbeaten in Region VI action.