he Nodaway-Holt volleyball team seems ready to take a big step forward in 2018 with the entire core returning from last year’s team.
The Trojans were extremely young last season and it showed early with them beginning the season with an 0-9 record and not even winning a set until the ninth match of the year. The Trojans recovered though and went 7-7-1 to end the season and showed plenty of reasons for optimism entering 2018.
“I really have the same team, but I have the addition of some pretty aggressive freshmen,” Nodaway-Holt coach Tobie Bohannon said. “Last year, I felt like we were such a young team that it was like a J.V. team playing against varsity teams, which is great for us this year because we got that good competition to make us better.”
One of the primary reasons for excitement is the return of outside hitter Amanda Bohannon for her senior season. She was a unanimous All-Highway 275 First Team selection last season.
“Volleyball is my favorite sport,” Amanda Bohannon said. “I think we are going to have a pretty good team this year so I am pretty excited.”
Amanda Bohannon was the focal point of the team’s offense last season with 100 kills — 31 more than anyone else on the team. She also was the team leader in aces with 41 and was second on the team in assists and blocks. She was third on the team with 38 digs.
One focus for the Trojans this season will be finding pieces to take some of the pressure and attention off of Amanda Bohannon. One player who seems primed to do just that is sophomore Shaina Culp.
“As a team as a whole, I think we just seem more confident,” Tobie Bohannon said.
The middle hitter emerged for the Trojans midway through her freshman season and provided the team with some extra pop. Culp led the team with 23 blocks and was second with 69 kills and 39 digs. She also added 31 aces.
The biggest key for Culp moving forward is the continued growth of Culp’s confidence.
“Last year, her challenges weren’t so much her abilities, but it was more her freshman insecurities,” Tobie Bohannon said. “This year, I haven’t seen any of that. She has put more things together. She is more consistent on her hitting and seems to be more confident on that. She is really a good overall player and she makes good passes and can cover a lot of area.”
Other key returners include seniors Breanna Day and Kailey Miller. Miller was third on the team with 50 kills while she was just behind her with 49.
Miller was second on the team with 32 aces and added 28 digs.
“I love volleyball,” Miller said. “It is my favorite sport so I always look forward to the season. It is just sad that it is my senior year.”
Day was a standout on the defensive end and led the team with 47 digs. She also had 29 aces.
Junior Halle Clement gives the team continuity at setter after she finished last season with 147 assists. She added 14 aces.
“When we first started off, she was very timid,” Amanda Bohannon said. “She played what her size is and is a small person, but now she plays big. She is not afraid to take control. She has definitely grown into the setter she is supposed to be.”
Other key returners include junior Sidney Leeper and sophomore Krista Hart.
Leeper finished last season with 14 kills and 35 digs. She also had three assists and three aces.
Hart made her biggest impact from the service line where she accounted for five aces.
The Trojans should also be helped by a big freshman class this season.
“We have a lot of freshmen that have potential this year so that will be good,” Day said. “I think some of our freshmen will step up and start on varsity.”
The goals for the Trojans are fairly simple.
“Our goal this year is not just to compete, but to win,” Tobie Bohannon said. “I feel like there are a lot of games we are in, but we just haven’t had that winner’s mindset.”
The Trojans have their home invitational tournament on Tuesday with games in Graham against North Platte and South Harrison.