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The #1 Cobras volleyball concluded day 2 of the Wisconsin Dells Invitational with two more victories, pushing their over-all record to 4-0 to start the season. In the first match on Saturday, PC defeated a much improved Mott team from Michigan. Mott had notched a couple of upset wins on day one so the Cobras had to fight hard to sweep them 3-0 by the scores of 25-18, 25-20, and 25-20. Lori VanBeek continued her strong offensive play leading the Cobras with 11 kills with Elise Dahlke and Teigan Flaws contributing 6 each. Setters Madison Weldon and Morgan Hickman ran the offense and provided 15 and 14 assists, respectively. Sophomore libero, Kaitlin Hunt had 20 digs for the Cobras and Weldon and Miaya Peacock each had 2 aces.

In match two, the Cobras faced #13 Muskegon of Michigan. All 15 players for Parkland helped push the Cobras to a 3-1 victory with scores of 25-13, 25-21, 25-27, 25-18. Vanbeek had 16 kills while Flaws and Lizzy Barnard pounded 9 each. Setters Weldon and Hickman ran the offense with 26 and 21 assists, respectively. Hunt once again led the defensive effort with 23 digs. Peacock again performed well at the service line with 5 aces.

The Cobras next travel to Toledo, Ohio for the Owens Labor Day Invitational from August 29-31. PC will play six times over the three days including matches against #6 Oakland, #10 Grand Rapids, #18 Catawba Valley as well as perennial power Monroe College of NY.

The #1 ranked Cobras headed north for the inaugural tournament of the 2014 season in the Wisconsin Dells. The Cobras faced two out-of-region opponents on Friday in Carl Sandburg College (IL) and #13 ranked Kansas City Kansas CC.

Parkland hit an impressive .318 against CSC in the 11am match en route to a 3-0 win, 25-15, 25-12, 25-20. All fifteen Cobras made their debut in the match with sophomores Lori VanBeek and Teigan Flaws leading the attack with 8 kills each. Sophomore libero Kaitlyn Hunt had 11 digs and 13 service points on the match, and classmate Morgan Hickman had 8 digs to go along with 11 assists. Fellow sophomore and setter Madison Weldon also notched 11 assists, while Ayla Dew had two service aces.

In match #2, the Cobras faced a fast and athletic KCKCC team ranked #13 in the nation. The Cobras knocked off the Blue Devils from Kansas 3-1 in scores of 25-21, 22-25, 25-23, 25-16. VanBeek and Flaws again led the offense with 10 and 9 kills respectively while freshman Lizzy Barnard also notched 9. VanBeek also had 8 block assists with freshman Hayley Gray putting back 5. Hunt had a terrific match in the back row digging up 23 balls, and the sophomore setters found confidence and comfort running a solid offense with Weldon recording 18 assists and Hickman 16. Barnard also recorded 5 aces for the Cobras, and Weldon had 3 aces and an outstanding 19 service points.

The Parkland College Volleyball team will open the 2014 season with the #1 ranking in the NJCAA D-2 Volleyball Poll. The Cobras, who finished 2nd in 2013, open their season this Friday and Saturday at the South Suburban Classic in the Wisconsin Dells. PC will face Carl Sandburg and #12 Kansas City KS Community College on Friday before facing off against a pair of Michigan schools, Mott and #13 Muskegon on Saturday.

As always, the Cobras will be tested early as they face nine other teams ranked in the top 20 during the first three weeks of the season. After seeing two ranked squads in Wisconsin, PC will play three of six matches at the Owens Invitational against ranked foes (#6 Oakland, #10 Grand Rapids, and #18 Catawba Valley). The Kirkwood Invitational, a week later, is loaded with talent as PC will take on defending National Champion and #2 Cowley, #3 Johnson County, #5 Central Nebraska, and #7 Iowa Central.

Parkland is scheduled to go up against 13 of the top 20 teams at some point in time during the upcoming season. The Cobras will play their first three tournaments and 14 matches on the road before playing for the first time at home on September 10 against M-WAC rival Lewis and Clark.

Parkland Volleyball Welcomes Back Alumni

On Saturday, August 16, thirteen alumni from the last several years came back “home” to Parkland to reconnect, see the new facilities, and challenge the current squad of fifteen to several matches throughout the day. The current Parkland squad won the split squad matches as well as the first three sets of the combined team effort, but after a few sets, the Alumni got a sense of comfort with each other and came back to win the final set of the day. The Alumni were content on the final victory and rushed to the ice and tylenol to rest from a fun day on both sides of the net. The celebration then continued into the evening with a dinner hosted by the current Parkland team for the alumni and families. Thank you to the assistant coaches who put together the fun evening and for all the alumni and families that came back to celebrate.

Parkland Green def. Alumni 1 - 25-9, 25-18
Parkland Green def. Alumni 2 - 25-21, 25-22
Parkland Yellow def. Alumni 1 - 25-18, 25-21
Parkland Yellow def. Alumni 2 - 25-19, 25-23
Parkland def. Alumni - 25-22, 25-11, 25-13, 20-25

Game video
Game video

Commitments for the 2014 class of the Parkland College Volleyball team.
This group of nine players brings quite a bit of success ranging geographically from within Champaign all the way to Australia. Each also brings a wealth of team and individual experience earned prior to Parkland. They balance each other along with the returning sophomores—to make for another team that will compete for a national championship in the 2014 season. Below is a list of the nine entering freshmen with information about each.

Lizzy Barnard

Lizzy is a 5’9” outside hitter who has been highly decorated throughout her high school career. In her junior season at Tri-County HS, she helped lead the Lady Titans to a 35-2 record and a 3rd-place finish in the Class 1A state championship. Lizzy was the offensive team leader that year with 291 kills and also had 165 digs and 70 aces. In her senior season, she led Unity HS to its best season in years, banging 402 kills, 303 digs, and 59 aces. In the process, Lizzy was named the News-Gazette Area Player of the Year and was named to the 2013 All-State Second Team alongside girls committed to University of Illinois, University of Florida, and University of Wisconsin to name a few. Lizzy has also had a lot of club success; she helped lead her Prime Time team to three consecutive Great Lakes Region bids to USAV Junior Nationals, capped off by an 11th-place finish in Dallas in 2013.

Lizzy joins Parkland following in her very successful parents’ footsteps. Her dad, Jeff, was a standout baseball player at Parkland and her mom, Mindy, is a former News-Gazette Player of the Year and Parkland volleyball player as well. Lizzy has an infectious smile and work ethic. She brings a high level of competitiveness on the court while balancing kindness and teamwork throughout. Her athleticism and volleyball knowledge are impressive and will serve her well throughout her Parkland career.

Rowan Crozier
Rowan, a 6’0” athletic middle hitter, comes to Parkland from a successful three-year career at DeLand-Weldon HS prior to her senior year at Monticello HS. As a sophomore, Rowan had a unique role on her D-L High School team in that she was a middle hitter and setter. She led D-L to a few of its most successful seasons in decades. In her junior year, Rowan was awarded as named to the 2nd team News-Gazette Area Team as well as that of the Decatur Herald & Review. In her senior year, she was named as one of the “Nifty Fifty” News-Gazette Area players to watch that season in her move to Monticello. To round out her already difficult duo of being a middle and setter, she converted to outside hitter at Monticello her senior year. With this robust experience, she brings a unique sense of being able to play many different positions successfully at Parkland.
After several years of success at Illini Elite, Rowan brought a diverse skill set to Prime Time Volleyball Club her senior year, where her team won the 18s division of the WCPL to earn a bid to USAV Nationals in Minneapolis. Rowan has a phenomenal vertical and brings a well-balanced demeanor to the court. She is well-liked and respected by her teammates and coaches throughout her playing seasons, and she exudes a quiet confidence that will serve her well at Parkland.

Ayla Dew
Ayla is a 5’10” outside hitter from Champaign Centennial HS. She brings an all-around game to Parkland with a balance of outstanding achievements in both the back and front rows. She led Centennial’s 31-8 team with 249 kills, 182 digs and 29 aces in her senior season. Ayla was named a News-Gazette First Team player in 2013 as well as received an outstanding state honor in being named to the Illinois Honorable Mention 100 list. She brings with her a long career of success both at the school and club level. Ayla has experienced a great deal of national success; her club team enjoyed successful finishes in power leagues, National Qualifiers, and USAV Nationals, topped off with an 11th-place finish at USAV Nationals in 2013. In high school, Ayla was a 6-rotation leader for their sectional championship her senior year and was part of the state 3rd place finish in Class 3A for Centennial in 2012.
Ayla provides a focused desire balanced with a sense of calm and confidence that gives her teammates the necessary emotional leader that all successful teams need. She’s a hard-worker who does a good job of balancing team growth with individual growth. Ayla will provide many attributes to the team, both on and off the court due to her balance, passion for life, and excellent communication skills with coaches and teammates.

Hayley Gray
Hayley, a 6’0” right side hitter, is a volleyball and softball standout from Watseka High School. She is a two-time Sangamon Valley Conference First Team award winner and was a driving force in Watseka’s regional championship her senior year. As a part of Prime Time Volleyball Club, Hayley was an opposing blocker in her team’s Show-Me National Qualifier; took a first-place finish in 2013 as the only junior on the 18 Blue team; and has continued to achieve great individual and team success in this year’s 18 Blue team.

As a middle in high school and club until this season, Hayley has adopted a great deal of volleyball knowledge and repetitions for the pace of the game at the collegiate level. Working as the second middle with Prime Time her junior year with Rachel Jones (Bradley University), Hayley was able to learn much about being a great middle. This year, she has transitioned to the right side to take full advantage of her opposing block against outside hitters as well as her much improved defensive game as well.

Madison Harpest
Madison is a tenacious libero from Tri-Valley High School. This two-year co-captain for the Lady Vikings helped lead her team in back-to-back 20+ win seasons, including a regional championship junior year in which she was named 2nd team All-Conference Sangamon Valley and broke the school season record with 358 digs. Not to be outdone in her senior season, she helped the team to 22-8 overall; was named First Team All-Conference; broke her own season dig record with 371; and was 2nd in the Pantagraph news distribution area with 5.5 digs/set. In addition, the Pantagraph listed Madison as an All-Area Honorable Mention in the highly competitive B-N volleyball area. Madison’s passion for volleyball continued into several successful club seasons both with Illini Elite and Eastside.

It’s not very often that a libero gets much recognition or press, but that probably serves Madison just fine. Her love for the game burns from within. Madison is a strong example of not needing to be loud to play loudly. Her skills both on serve-receive and defense were solid and made an impression, but it was her desire, work ethic, and passion for the game, as well as her teammates, that left the most lasting impression.

Alayna Jackson
Alayna, a 5’9” middle hitter, played for three years at Urbana High School and then her senior year at Centennial. She was a major element in Centennial’s sectional championship in 2013. Alayna was named to an elite All-Tournament Team at the Mizuno Sports Performance President’s Day Tournament in 2012 and has continued to expand her game ever since. In addition, she has been the starting middle for her Prime Time team, where she has earned a number of individual awards and has enjoyed team success capped off by an 11th-place finish at USAV Nationals in 2013.
Alayna has an outstanding vertical, great speed, and the mental preparedness required to be a dominant middle. Although she often illustrates power in beating opposing middles, she can just as easily use finesse and court smarts to beat them. Alayna’s enjoyment of the game is evident in her beaming smile, which gives her teammates a level of enjoyment for practices and matches alike.

Kailey Kleinert
A 5’11’ middle hitter from Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School, Kailey helped the Panthers to an undefeated Sangamon Valley Conference regular season championship in 2012, after guiding PBL to win its own regular season tournament against a number of tough area teams. Kailey was named to the SVC First team, as well as to a series of all-tournament teams, both her junior and senior years. She was named to the News-Gazette All-Area Second team and to the inaugural area All-Star game. One special accolade awarded to Kailey was that she was named the News-Gazette Athlete of the Week in September 2013. Kailey played both for Prime Time Volleyball Club, where she competed at USAV Junior Nationals as a 16, and for Peak Performance.

Kailey’s athletic gifts have made her a standout on the court since her early high school playing days. She has a vertical and length that can’t be taught. The only thing on the court that stands out more than her athleticism is her constant smile and joy of playing the sport. Her infectious personality encourages her team to find the fun in each challenge, as everyone works hard to be successful. As a coach, one looks first for potential players who will make their team successful, but then immediately looks for what those athletes bring to the team in terms of nonathletic attributes. Kailey embodies joy, and we look forward to being surrounded by that passion for the next two years.

Kelly Lean
Kelly, also called Kell, joins Parkland from Upwey High School, near the city of Melbourne in the state of Victoria, Australia. As the primary setter running a 5-1 offense for the Victorian Under 19 state team, Kell brings experience, communication ability, and leadership to the Cobras. Her Victorian U19 team finished fourth at the Australian Junior Volleyball Championships in July 2013. She has received a number of school and tournament awards for her high level of volleyball play. In addition, she has spent time coaching younger players who look to follow in her footsteps.
Kell brings speed, strength, and a tenacious desire to succeed. She is a mature young woman who communicates impressively both with her coaches and her teammates. Her former state team involvement offers her new team a wealth of on-the-court skills and high-level performance potential, while her international experiences bring unique perspectives that will help Parkland succeed.

Miaya Peacock
Miaya, an outside hitter from Champaign Centennial HS, possesses an athleticism few can match. The word “dynamic” still understates the vertical power, speed, and strength she brings to the volleyball court. In her senior season at Centennial, Miaya took 245 kills, 198 digs, and 58 service aces. She has experienced success both at the school and club level along with a great deal of national success with her club team, capped off by winning the WCPL, both as 16s and 17s, to earn a Nationals bid. As a 17, she helped Prime Time 17 Blue finish 11th in the National division at the USAV Nationals in Dallas, Texas, with a number of upset wins along the way. In high school, Miaya was a strong force behind their sectional championship her senior year and was part of Centennial’s 3rd-place state finish in Class 3A in 2012.
Although often faced with comments that she is undersized, Miaya converts those question marks into a gritty, blue-collar work ethic that provides highlight film plays for her teams. She brings a unique element to the start of every match: She is an intimidating player to watch due to her high-flying, hard-hitting warm-ups. In the back row, Miaya continues to show key strengths, with outstanding serve-receive, intelligent reads on defense, and heavy serves that provide her team a lot of free points.

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