Missing the state volleyball tournament for the first time in five years is serving as motivation for the Rose Hill team and standout sophomore Gracie Van Driel.
“It was tough,” Van Driel said. “The team had went to state the previous four years and just being left out last year was tough. I think we learned a lot from that and will be prepared for this year.”
The Rockets will get their chance at revenge when they open the season Tuesday with a triangular against Mulvane and Andale, the team that eliminated Rose Hill in last year’s Class 4A-I sub-state final.
“We’re all up to the task,” Van Driel said. “We’ve been waiting since last year to get a chance to play them again.”
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With three high school seasons remaining, Van Driel has given Kansas a non-binding commitment to play there beginning in 2019.
“KU was the right fit for me,” said Van Driel, who’s 6-foot-1. “I love the coaching staff and the players there, it’s like a big family and I fell in love when I was first offered.”
Van Driel tallied 226 kills and 68 blocks in her freshman season and is 50 blocks away from setting the school record for career blocks. Her sister, senior Anna Van Driel, has also been a key contributor to the Rockets’ success. Anna had 167 kills in her junior season and had a 95-percent serving rate.
“Anna and I aren’t just sisters, we’re best friends,” Van Driel said. “We do everything together and we’ve been playing together all of our life, so the bond we have is unbreakable.”
The Rockets return four All-AV-CTL III selections from a year ago for sixth-year coach Melissa Segovia. Rose Hill has had a winning season every year since 2008, including four state tournament appearances and third- and fourth-place finishes.
“Coach Segovia always has us prepared,” Gracie Van Driel said. “She works us hard each and every practice. We usually practice for almost three hours a day during the week, she knows what it takes to win and have us prepared for every match that we play.”
Junior setter Emily Witt will be the starting setter and has experience at the position. Jadan Hinz returns after a junior season where she led the team with 249 digs.
Rose Hill’s tough schedule will prepare them for the postseason, including contests with four teams that qualified for a state tournament in 2015. They’ll face defending 3A champion Garden Plain on Sept. 15.
“Our schedule isn’t easy,” Van Driel said. “It’s definitely a challenging schedule, but we know that the tough teams that we play will prepare us for sub-state and the more competition we play, the better off we’ll be.”
AREA VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS TO WATCH
Andale — Julie Archer, sr.; Morgan Walther, sr.; Jill Bergkamp, sr.; Myka Dalton, sr.; Hannah Seiler, jr.
Andover — Isabelle Reynolds, jr.; Julia Graves, jr.; Mallory Loflin, jr.
Andover Central — Beth Schulte, sr.; Hannah Cole, sr.; Kelli Sleefe, sr.; Brooklyn Strobel, so.
Arkansas City — Chevelle Sartin, jr.; Gracie Musson, jr.
Augusta — Faith Hallmark, sr.; Sophia Dalziel, sr.
Belle Plaine — Brooke Menhusen, sr.; Jesika Gooch, jr.; Hanna Mowdy, so.
Bluestem — Jodan Stiger, sr.; Allison Burch, sr.; Natalie Bevan, so.; Addison Emmons, so.
Burrton — Kaylee Matlack, sr.; Maddie Winter, sr.; Ronni Salgado, jr.; Marissa Hurst, sr.
Caldwell — Hanna Stuewe, sr.; Megg Lebeda, so.; Tylyn Ward, so.
Campus — Jade Askren, sr.; Carmin Butterworth, sr.; Cami Mills, sr.; Hannah Schutte, so.
Cedar Vale-Dexter — MacKenzie Glasse, sr.; Ellie Boatman, jr.
Cheney — Haley Albers, sr.; Madison Freund, sr.; Emily Monson, jr.; Kristen Wewe, sr.
Circle — Ashley Warehime, sr.; Kaitlyn Greenwood, sr.
Clearwater — Alli Klausmeyer, sr.; Grace Pracht, sr.; Lindsey Wolf, sr.; Morgan Cleary, sr.
Collegiate: Lauren Johnson, sr.; Kirby Krumsick, sr.; Riley Sander, sr.; Natalie Freed, jr.; Addison Squires, fr.
Conway Springs — Bre Akiu, sr.; Janae Pauly, sr.; Ryed Creek, sr.
Derby — Nia Bishop, sr.; Gracyn Reynolds, jr.; Madi Ediger, jr.; Madi Young, so.
Douglass — Madison Woody, sr.; Katelyn Moore, so.; Allison Zalusky, sr.
Eisenhower — Jordan Evans, sr.; Ryleigh Jackson, jr.; Brooke Smith, sr.; Alyssa Arnold, sr.
El Dorado — Caedyn Reinhardt, sr.; Sydney Scanlon, jr.; Braylon Daniels, sr.; Kylea McArdle, sr.
Garden Plain — Ryann Flax, sr.; Michelle Youngers, sr.; Taylor Joplin, jr.; Piper Bourne, jr.
Goddard — Grace Hall, sr.; Lauren Jameson, sr.; Madi Smith, sr.; Tiana Nice, sr.
Halstead — Katelyn Boston, sr.; Sky Werner, sr.; Daphne Williams, jr.; Maddy Beckett, so.; Kaytlynn Millspaugh, jr.
Hesston — Cameron Denno, sr.; Kennedy Teach, sr.; Kailey Ince, jr.; Mia Loganbill, jr.
Hillsboro — Rebecca Kaufman, sr.; Abby Sechrist, jr.; Savannah Unruh, sr.; Callie Linnens, sr.
Hutchinson — Micah Tomac, sr.; Lonna Porter, jr.; Brooke Ackley, sr.; Ally Lusk, jr.
Inman — Jalyn Froese, jr.; Baylie Ediger, jr.; Audra Hampton, sr.; Macy DeWitt, so.
Independent — Abbey Kolbeck, sr.; Emily Brun, sr.; Meghan Tokala, sr.; Emma Gunderson, sr.
Larned — Ally Aldrich, sr.; Erin Smith, sr.; Kelsey Parr, sr.; Maddy Erway, sr.
Lyons — Laura Pineda, sr.; Fiona Jaime, jr.; Jessie Smith, jr.; Katie Marshall, jr.; Marisol Diaz, sr.
Maize — Brecken Roe, sr.
Maize South — Jena LaValle, sr.; Katie Nitcher, jr.; Skylar Goering, so.; Corinn Sokoll, so.
Marion — Marissa Jacobson, sr.; Shelby Felvus, sr.; Kourtney Hanren, jr.
McPherson — Rachel Dossett, sr.; Mandi Cooks, jr.; Brooke Schrag, sr.; Elisabeth Evans, sr.
Moundridge — Chelsey Knight, jr.; Natalie Kaufman, sr.; Bethany Stucky, jr.
Mulvane — Emma Chambers, sr.; Jacey Johnston, jr.; Emma Springer, jr.
Newton — Emily Regier, sr.; Megan Akers, sr.; Taylor Antonowich, jr.; Kara Peaney, sr.; Kailey Harris, sr.
Peabody-Burns — Samantha Frye, sr.; Mallory Harris, sr.; Raegan Schreiber, sr.
Remington — Kelcey Hinz, sr.; Sage Westerfield, sr.
Rose Hill — Anna Van Driel, sr.; Emily Witt, jr.; Jadan Heinz, sr.; Gracie Van Driel, so.
Sedgwick — Hannah Christie, sr.; Sydney Hilliard, jr.; Bailey Zerger, jr.; Avery Blank, jr.
Trinity Academy — Gracie Golay, jr.; Hattie Troutman, jr.; Madi Spencer, jr.
Udall — Taylor Hopper, so.; Breckyn Rowley, jr.; Madison Houdeshell, so.
Valley Center — Emily Klusener, sr.; Miranda Dessenberger, sr.; Kailey Pearson, sr.; Reagan Fischer, jr.
Wellington — Tayland French, sr.; Shayland French, sr.; Keelie Cunningham, jr.; Adrienne Norris, so.
Winfield — Bri Hutto, sr.; Sarah Harper, sr.; Nicole Wallace, sr.; Taylor Byerly, jr.