In the 2021 season, this year’s Lady Hawks volleyball team was on the rise. In fact, this veteran squad has brought back all but three of their regular rotational players from the 2020 season. This includes seniors Melanee Bauer, Morgan Conner, Gabbie Inman, Avori Vomastic and Justice Wingate.
The team is led by sophomore head coach, Trent Jones, who amassed a 12-7 (10-6 GLVC) record in his first year as the Rockhurst Volleyball skipper.
Veteran leadership coupled with young sophomore talent proved to be a recipe for success as this year’s team racked up 20 wins in just 32 games. The Hawks finished 20-12 overall and won the West Division with a 13-5 conference record, placing them in third place in the Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament.
The Hawks flirted with perfection on their home turf all season, until they finally fell at Missouri S&T (0-3) on November 6. The Hawks would return a few days later on Nov. 9 to stun Drury University, where after two sets to nil earlier in the game, they came back to win and set a 9-1 record in their home building.
Just six days after the Miners of Missouri S&T ruined Rockhurst’s 8-game home winning streak, on Nov. 12, these Hawks returned the favor and won on the road in a five-set war.
As the GLVC tournament rushed at them, the Hawks danced to the beat of winning 11 of their last 14 games. In the end, Rockhurst fell in five sets in the first round to sixth seed, Screaming Eagles of Southern Indiana. Nevertheless, the senior trio of Inman (28 assists), Vomastic (13 kills) and Wingate (7 blocks) all played great and led the team in their respective categories.
In his second season as head coach, Jones made his first appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament when the Hawks left for Big Rapids, Michigan, to play the region’s top league, the Ferris State University Bulldogs. Ranked #23 in the nation, the Bulldogs were confused from the start when the Hawks came out with haymakers and took the first set 26-24.
After losing the opening set at their home turf, the Bulldogs fought back in the next two sets, taking a 2-1 lead en route to a possible game-winning set.
Season-end elimination stared Rockhurst dead in the eye, but the Hawks went on to roll the Bulldogs 25-18 in the fourth set, before falling 10-15 in the final set of their season.
This talented Kansas City couple would not go unnoticed as four players received GLVC awards.
Wingate was undeniably one of the conference’s top blockers, finishing second in blocks per set (1.23), and her over-net coverage earned her a spot on the All-Great Lakes Valley Conference First Team. The awards ceremony doesn’t end there for Wingate, as she was also selected to the DII Conference Commissioner’s Association All-Midwest Region Second Team.
Vomastic, another senior on the frontline of that Hawk, also earned the honors at the conference. Not only did she lead the team with 380 kills, she played for Rockhurst in every set. Joining her on GLVC’s second team is sophomore Libero, Maureen Reilly, who hastened and defended his way to a team-leading total of nearly 600 digs. Reilly perfected Rockhurst’s home field advantage by reading and reacting to balls deflecting off the low ceiling, as if the game should be played that way.
One last prize of this season went to Sophia Moes. The Junior from Omaha, Nebraska, earned the title as the GLVC James R. Spalding Sportsmanship Honoree for her tremendous athleticism, demeanor, citizenship and academic standing.