CMB volleyball team aiming high in 2015

Story and photo by Joe Randleman
CMB volleyball team aiming high in 2015

The Collins-Maxwell-Baxter volleyball team hopes to take advantage of good experience and quality depth to produce a winning record in 2015.

The Raiders are coming off a 10-13 campaign. They have their two leaders in kills and top setter from a year ago returning and two of the their three best blockers back. CMB also returns two individuals with at least 175 digs last year, as well as one of its top returning servers.

“This team has the potential to be one of the best volleyball teams CMB has had in quite some time,” CMB head coach Scott Ranck said. “A lot of hard work still needs to be done, but the overall quality of the program is building, growing and improving. That being said, the Heart of Iowa Conference has traditionally been a very strong volleyball conference and it doesn’t appear to be much different this year. There are many quality teams and we are striving to put ourselves in a position where we get the hits, passes and scores to close the gap and come out on the plus side of competition.”

CMB returns senior Bridget Hurley at outside hitter, senior Payge Jurgens at middle hitter, junior Kathleen Baldwin at setter and senior Toni Spencer at libero. They also have junior middle blocker/right-side hitter Mikayla Eslinger back with quality experience.

In 2014 Hurley had 216 digs, 117 kills, a .940 serving percentage and 17 aces. Jurgens put up 135 kills and 30 blocks, Baldwin handed out 184 assists and recorded 68 digs, Spencer picked up 176 digs and Eslinger produced 16 kills and 12 blocks.

Sophomore defensive specialist Sailor Hinegardner, sophomore middle hitter Brianda Bane and junior outside hitter Bekah Pearson also had limited varsity experience last year. Hinegardner went 20 of 22 serving with four aces, Bane had two kills, one block and one ace and Pearson delivered 20 digs and four kills.

Sophomore right-side hitter/outside hitter Jordynn Wesselink will also figure into the varsity mix for CMB this season.

“We have several versatile players,” Ranck said. “Our rotation could change based on our play and/or the team or style we play against.”

Ranck said he expects Class 3A state semifinalist Nevada to be the favorites for another HOIC title. But after the Cubs, the conference should be a dogfight.

“There will be many teams fighting for second,” Ranck said.

Right now Ranck said CMB is focused on its opening matches of the season versus Saydel and and Lynnville-Sully.

“Those are our biggest matches at this point,” Ranck said. “We want to get the year off to a great start.”

CMB’s opening match with Saydel will take place at 7 p.m. Aug. 31 in Baxter.