College of St. Mary Developing Into Tough Team in GPAC
OMAHA – If you’ve spent any time in the Aksarben area of Omaha in recent years, you know that development has been booming there for a while. It’s now starting to happen on the College of St. Mary campus as well, as the volleyball program has had a huge influx of talent in recent years.
Second-year coach Rick Pruett is excited about what the Flames can accomplish in 2018 after the squad went 8-19 in 2017, including a 1-15 mark in the GPAC.
“I am really excited about the direction the program is going. Our recruiting goal was to get bigger and more skilled in some positions. We wanted to recruit players from the local area of Nebraska and Iowa. Not only that, we wanted kids that came from some winning high school and club programs.,” Pruett said. “We had 12 returning players, another goal was to recruit depth and competitive players. We will be starting a JV program, which is the first time CSM has had that. This will really help these young players grow and make our program a lot more competitive.
“We will be a much-improved team from last year. I am extremely excited!”
To accomplish his goal, Pruett went out and added 12 new freshmen to the program along with three transfers. He also returns three All-GPAC players from a year ago, so suddenly his roster is much more competitive.
Here is a position-by-position look at College of St. Mary for 2018.
Kinsley Tingelhoff, 5’7, Fr., Wahoo, Neb.
Natalie Patten, 5’6, Jr., Council Bluffs, Iowa
Alexis Petry, 5’6, Fr., Council Bluffs, Iowa
Faith Hanson, 5’8, Soph., Omaha, Neb.
Alexa Van Dyke, 5’8, Fr., South Sioux City, Neb.
Elizabeth Osborn, 5’6, Fr., Tilden, Neb.
Technically, Dani Carlson is the top returning setter for the Flames, but she’s listed under the pin hitters. Carlson was a second-team All-GPAC performer last year for the Flames after doing a little bit of everything – finishing with 365 assists and 346 kills. Carlson likely won’t have to set anymore, though. Patten is back after tallying 550 assists last year and recording 238 digs. She will be heavily pushed, however, by the arrival of freshmen Tingelhoff and Petry. Tingelhoff is the career assist leader in Class C-1 and led Wahoo to its first state title a year ago while Petry had a successful high school career at Council Bluffs St. Albert.
Dani Carlson, 6’0, Jr., Elkhorn, Neb.
Alicia Hogan, 5’8, Fr., Omaha, Neb.
Makenna Niemoth, 5’8, Soph., Doniphan, Neb.
Taryn Williams, 5’8, Jr., Thurman, Iowa
Emily Pongratz, 5’7, Jr., O’Neill, Neb.
Payton Robley, 5’8, Jr., Bee, Neb.
Amber Anderson, 6’1, Jr., Omaha, Neb.
Daryn Willman, 5’10, Jr., Grand Island, Neb.
Esther Becker, 5’9, Fr., Omaha, Neb.
June Johnson, 5’8, Fr., Mead, Neb.
Caitlin Niendick, 5’9, Fr., Wellington, Mo.
Makenna Freeman, 6’0, Fr., Omaha, Neb.
Micah Collins, 5’10, Fr., Peoria, Ariz.
Anderson, for my money, is the frontrunner for newcomer of the year in the GPAC and was CSM’s biggest get in recruiting over the past year. The former Omaha Benson player turned into a beast of an attacker and block at Central Community College and will make a huge impact right away for the Flames. We’ve already talked about Carlson’s ability and Robley was an All-GPAC Honorable Mention selection after 231 kills a year ago. Pongratz played in 100 sets for the Flames last year with 387 digs and Willman in played in 89 sets with 74 kills. Freeman could also push for a starting spot on the outside as a true freshman.
MacKenzie Melton, 5’10, Soph., Bennington, Neb.
Katelyn Klisiewicz, 6’1, Jr., Discovery Bay, Calif.
Taylor Homes, 5’11, Soph., Wahoo, Neb.
Blair Benton, 6’0, Jr., Nebraska City, Neb.
Brooklyn Wilke, 5’11, Fr., Columbus, Neb.
Homes was honorable mention All-GPAC in 2017 with 146 kills and twice last season she had five blocks in a single match. Klisiewicz is another community college transfer that looks to make a huge impact and brings size to the program after coming over from Monterey Peninsula College.
Augusta Sinclair, 5’7, Sr., Carlisle, Iowa
Savannah DeBoer, 5’5, Soph., Hastings, Neb.
Regi Zakrzewski, 5’6, Fr., Columbus, Neb.