MIAMI — Volleyball season at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday as the Lady Norse host the Neosho County Community College Panthers in the Glen Wolfe Student Activity Center.
The Lady Norse will become very familiar with the SAC court as seven of their first eight regular season matches are at home.
Last year the Lady Norse posted an 8-8 season record, but lacked the total number of regular season matches to be eligible to compete in the Region 14, District O postseason playoffs.
Located in Chanute, Kansas, the Panthers start the season with six sophomores on their 20-player roster.
A member of the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference, the Panthers finished 6-3 in the league and 21-12 overall.
Three sophomores and nine freshmen comprise the Lady Norse opening day roster.
Outside hitters Charity Burdette (5-9 from Skiatook) and Katie Heese (5-9 from Platte City, Missouri) return along with veteran deep setter/libero Taylor Stanley (5-7 from Carthage, Missouri) offer experience at the college level.
Heese played in 13 matches last year with 46 saves and 78 kills in 197 total attempts. She also posted 77 assists and 27 digs along with 82 total points.
Burdette recorded 46 assists and 42 kills in 13 matches. She contributed one assist, three digs and 14 blocks while scoring 60 total points.
Stanley appeared in nine matches last season while making 27 saves as a deep setter. She also recorded one assist and one save with 27 digs.
Finding a replacement for sophomore academic all-American Savannah McCamis has been a major focus for head coach Eric Iverson during the 11-day preseason workouts.
“Because we have a highly intellectual group as far as volleyball savoy goes, our preseason went very quick,” Iverson said. “They have retained the things we’ve instructed them on and now we’ll see how they execute.
“Our nine freshmen came in to preseason with pretty fresh volleyball skills because most of them were pretty competitive in volleyball at the high school level long into the summer,” Iverson said. “So now, we’ll get to see how well they’ve adjusted to our team concept.”
Freshmen Crystal Montanez (5-7 from Rio Grande, Puerto Rico) and Marley Hensley (5-7 from Carthage, Missouri) will alternate at the setter position.
Stanley and freshmen Stevine Wilson (5-1 from Tulsa), Zoe Renfro (5-4 from Diamond, Missouri) and Thallanette Garcia (5-7 from Naguabo, Puerto Rico) will share the deep setter responsibilities. Wilson can also play libero while Garcia is an outside hitter.
Sharing duties in the middle position for the Lady Norse are freshmen Adna De Andrade (5-11 from Houston, Texas), Kennedy Myers (6-1 from Kansas City, Missouri), Julette Moore (5-10 from Buffalo, Missouri) and Lindsey Limore (6-0 from McDonald County, Missouri).
Freshman Kati Starks (5-8 from Lenapah) will alternate with Moore, Limore and Myers as right side out side hitters.
NEO will entertain the Independence (Kansas) Community College Lady Pirates at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the SAC.