2016 Volleyball Season Preview
In 2015 Yavapai Volleyball earned their first ever District Championship and National Championship Tournament appearance. In 2016 the Roughriders will look to accomplish even more as they start the season ranked #20 in the NJCAA Pre-Season Poll. According to head coach Zach Shaver, “The team has set some lofty goals and they have been working tirelessly throughout the pre-season to prepare for the task at hand.”
The 2016 squad is returning 4 sophomores from the District Championship team. 5’11” outside hitter BreiAnna Grunig (Montpelier, ID) has become a more effective attacker and is challenging for court time on the left side. Another sophomore who has developed into a stronger attacker since her freshman season is 5’9″ lefty right side hitter Kassidy Pomeroy (Tucson, AZ) Coach Shaver stated “It has been nice to see the strong work ethic in BreiAnna and Kassidy which has driven them to put in the time needed for improvement! I expect them to earn more match opportunities in 2016.” The other 2 sophomores are 5’9″ setter, Jordan Tilley (Ashland, OR) and 6’1″ outside hitter, Iva Alebic (Obermaiselstein, Germany). Both Jordan and Iva earned starting positions in 2015 and were key factors in the team’s District Championship. Tilley earned NJCAA All-Region 1st Team and All-ACCAC 2nd Team honors, while Alebic was the first Yavapai Volleyball All-American (2nd Team) in 5 years. She was also selected to the NJCAA All-Region 1st Team, All-ACCAC 1st Team, and with her perfect 4.00 GPA earned the NJCAA Pinnacle Award.
With only 4 returning players the coaching staff worked diligently to recruit a freshman class of 11. When asked, Coach Shaver said “This freshman class is talented on the court but even more importantly they are all quality individuals who will help elevate our program to new heights.” In the libero position there are 2 players representing the far ends of the state of Arizona. 5’4″ Lauren Ulibarri (Flagstaff, AZ) and 5’7″ Hannah Semon (Oro Valley, AZ) and both are expected to compete for time in “the other jersey”. All 4 of the team’s middle blockers are freshmen and each of them brings something unique to the position. 5’11” Santana Mestas (Pueblo, CO) brings experience from an elite club level as she competed for Colorado Juniors top 18’s team. 5’11” Bailey Anderson (Prescott, AZ) is fearless and always looking to score. 6′ Baylie Stephens (Oro Valley, AZ) is very technically trained and is solid at all aspects of the position. 6’2″ Madelynn Mckeown (Juneau, AK) is just starting to scratch the surface of her potential and is improving weekly. Both freshmen outside hitters, 5’8″ Jailynn Butler (Parker, AZ) and 5’9″ Hailey Welch (Buckeye, AZ) have the skills to be successful in the ACCAC. Both Jailynn and Hailey are complete outside hitters with aggressive on court personalities and fun loving people off the court. There are also 2 setters in the freshman class. 5’8″ Juliette Tygrett (Gilbert, AZ) brings consistency and a no nonsense approach to the setter position. 5’10” Hayley Huntsman (Las Vegas, NV) is an athletic setter who consistently makes unexpected plays especially at the net as a blocker. The final piece of the puzzle is 6’2″ right side hitter Kaytlin Yost (Fullerton, CA). Yost is already developing into a terminating attacker as well as an intimidating blocker.
The Roughriders will start ACCAC play with a road match at Mesa CC on Wednesday August 24th at 7:00 pm. The team will regroup and then travel to Las Vegas, NV on Friday (August 26th) for 4 matches at the Coyote Classic hosted by College of Southern Nevada. On Thursday September 1st, Yavapai will host it’s first home match of 2016 when they will unveil their 2015 District Championship banner just prior to the 7:00 pm start time against Eastern Arizona College. Other schedule highlights include the 3rd Annual Roughrider Invitational (September 2nd & 3rd) when Yavapai will welcome to Prescott teams from Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado. The following weekend (September 9th & 10th) the Roughriders will travel to College of Southern Idaho (2015 National Champions) to compete in the Star Invite. While in Idaho the team will be challenged by playing against 3 teams who are pre-season ranked in the top 20; College of Southern Idaho (#1), Northwest College (#5), and Salt Lake CC (#12). Yavapai will hold their annual sophomore night on Friday October 21st as they host Central Arizona College at 7:00 pm. The team will then conclude the regular season away from Prescott on Wednesday October 26th as they travel to Yuma, AZ to take on Arizona Western College.