Newman volleyball off to a hot start in the 2021 season

By: Tejay Cleland, Editor-In-Chief

The Newman volleyball team is off to a 5-3 start to the season, including a sweep of Missouri Southern State University in its conference opener on Sept. 17.

The Jets’ volleyball team has not compiled five wins in an entire season since the 2017 season. It has also not won five of its first eight games since 2016.

The team has nine returners on the roster and only four upperclassmen.

Head volleyball coach Jose Lugo said he was impressed with his team’s resilience despite its lack of experience.

“This team is extremely light-hearted and very relaxed,” he said. “That kind of relaxed nature helps them perform a little bit.”

Freshman outside hitter Riley Daugherty said she thinks that this Jets team is legit and can contend with its rivals.

“I think we can get after anyone in the conference,” she said. “I think we have a lot of talent on the team, and if we play hard for each other, we can do anything. Literally, we can take down some of the big dogs in the conference.”

Senior middle blocker Imani Jones said that the culture and excitement around this team is something that she has not seen at Newman.

“I think that comes with us just being comfortable with each other,” Jones said. “I don’t know, it just feels right.”

Newman had two athletes named to the all-invitational team at the Broncho Invitational in Edmond, Oklahoma, on Sept. 9 and 10. Daugherty was named to the team after posting a double-double in every match with kills and digs. Junior Jenna Devore was also named to the team after putting up 164 assists in the tournament, including 52 against Oklahoma Christian.

The Jets volleyball team plays at home at 5 p.m. Friday against No. 4 ranked Nebraska-Kearney and again at 3 p.m. on Saturday against Fort Hays.

PHOTO: Courtesy Photo, Newman Athletics