Hilbert takes steps out of retirement and in as Banner County Volleyball head coach


August 24, 2017

Tonia Copeland/Western Nebraska Observer

Tonia Copeland/Western NEbraska Observer Banner County volleyball is ready to take the court for the 2017 season. Pictured above, front row, left to right: Rylie Mason, Bailee Underhill, Kathryn Blankenship, Neveah William, Abi Smith, San Vanosdall. Back row, left to right: Sierra Flores, Jules McDonnell, Jadyn Cross, MaKenna Dahlgrin, Jessica Williams, Emily Triolo, Arielle Whelchel, Emily Singleton, Ayden Cross - manager

Angie Hilbert steps back in as Banner County's volleyball coach this year with Jessica Harvie beside her on the court. The coaches will be looking for ways to improve on last year's 5-22 record and with several returning starters and letter winners.

Senior MaKenna Dahlgrin, a four-year starter, returns as a middle hitter. Coach Hilbert describes Dahlgrin as an all-round athlete with a lot of high-level skills.

"She will bring lots of leadership to our team," Hilbert added.

Jadyn Cross is another returning athlete with what Hilbert says is high-level skills. Cross is listed as a middle hitter and setter.

Emily Singleton, an outside hitter, has improved her level of play during the summer, according Hilbert, who added that she is excited to see how Singleton applies herself throughout this new season.

Sierra Flores and Rylie Mason round out the crew of five returning starters, Flores as a setter and Mason as an outside hitter.

"Sierra does a great job, working hard to become a better setter," Hilbert said. "Rylie has a strong work ethic, is very coachable and can play multiple positions. I am looking forward to seeing her on the court."

In addition to the returning starters, three Lady Wildcats are returning as letter winners. Bailee Underhill returns as the team's defensive specialist, or libero. As the libero, Underhill can replace any player in the back row for a strong defensive position.

"She brings lots of positive energy to our team, she is fun to work with and she has a high serving percentage," Hilbert said.

Arielle Whelchel and Jules McDonnell, both returning letter earners, continue to improve their skills, Whelchel as an outside hitter and McDonnell as both an outside and middle hitter.

Hilbert will look to her returning athletes for strong leadership and she expects McDonnell to have a strong impact on the team, along with newcomer Sam Vanosdall.

Rounding out the 2017-18 Lady Cats volleyball team with Sam Vanosdall are fellow newcomers Kathryn Blackenship, Emily Triolo and Abi Smith.

Each of these new athletes have been showing a lot of promise, hard work ethic and positive attitudes, making Hilbert excited to see their growth this season.

Though the team returns many strong players, Hilbert said they need to improve teamwork and increase their mental toughness, learning how to fight through close games with a strong attitude to win.

"Working together as a team in a positive direction will be challenging. We will improve our serving and kill percentages, as well as, our serve receive percentages," Hilbert said. "After coming out of retirement, I am excited to have the opportunity to work with this group of young women. I'm looking forward to a more competitive season for our girls."


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