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Friday, Oct. 21, 2016

Comets near end of volleyball season

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Submitted Photo-- Cottey College's 2007 volleyball team enters regional tournament play Friday in St. Louis. Members of the Comets are, left side, front to back, Sara Cooper (1), Lindsey Monceret, Anna Cruse and Lauren Jenkins. Right side, front to back, Tara Cooper (6), Carmen Kintz, Michelle Schulte, Jesse Jargowsky and Candace Potts.
Cottey College's young but talented volleyball squad will attempt to make a run in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II, Region XVI tournament this weekend in St. Louis.

Fourth-seeded Cottey (12-10) plays fifth-seed and host Meramec at 6 p.m. Friday in the six-team event. The victor returns to play top-seeded Longwood in the semifinals at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

The Comets are led by sophomores Tara Cooper and Michelle Schulte, who helped mold the team into one cohesive unit.

"It was a good (regular) season. We played really well," Cooper said. "We got along really well. I was expecting to do a little better, but I think we did really good."

"This year compared to last year, our group bonded better," Schulte said. "There wasn't two groups, so we worked well together.

"It's went by really fast. I felt like we have accomplished the things we needed to accomplish. We could have done better, but I think we tried our hardest."

"You start out every year never knowing what kind of bonding you are going to have with players from all over the country," said Cottey head coach Marla Kannady Foreman, who has guided the program in all eight years of its existence.

"By the end of September you realize whether the team is going to bond well or not. This year is phenomenal in how they get along and bond not only on but also off the court."

Cottey has developed national appeal to its student-athletes, with eight of nine players on the roster from out of state.

"I liked he atmosphere of the small school and small town," said freshman Lauren Jenkins, from California. "It was a good way for me to ease into your experience. And a two-year decision isn't as crucial as your four-year decision."

"They offered a good financial package, the coach is nice and it's a small campus," Cooper said.

Kannady Foreman designated Cooper and Schulte as leaders, but not as captains.

"That allows the freshmen to step up and grow into a leadership role ... I usually depend on my sophomores to be leaders because they know my system and know what to expect. Michelle and Tara have done an outstanding job being leaders for me and the support system for the freshmen."

Cottey's back row defense is led by Carmen Kintz, a 5-6 freshman from Oregon. Kintz has a team-high 386 digs and ranks 29th nationally in digs per game.

Jenkins and freshman Anna Cruse lead the front row defense.

Jenkins, a 5-11 middle hitter from Red Bluff, Calif., and the 6-1 Cruse, from Columbus, Mont., are among the nation's leaders in blocks per game, ranking 30th and 31st respectively.

Jenkins' freshman season has been a knowledge builder.

"It's definitely been a learning experience physically and emotionally because you have to adapt to the personalities of the people on your team," Jenkins said. "Here you are playing with people you never played with before. My year on varsity in high school I played with people I knew my whole life if not four years. In college you are constantly adapting to change. Physically you prepare for harder practices and more intensity during games.

"It's a more competitive atmosphere internally and externally," Jenkins added. "By that I mean on the team you really have to compete for your position more than in high school, as well as other teams you have to compete more for the win."

With the talent level at an all-time high according to Kannady Foreman, even more talented than the 2005 squad that went 17-6, the volleyball future appears bright for Cottey College.

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