Four members of the winningest sophomore class in the history of the Cowley College volleyball program recently signed letters of intent with four-year schools.
First-Team All-Americans, setter Katelynn Slade and outside hitter B.J. Specht, along with Second-Team All-American middle hitter Jessica McDougald and Honorable Mention All-American libero McKenzie Hartzog, helped Cowley win 73 of 78 matches during their two years at Cowley.
The four players also helped the Lady Tigers capture the 2013 national championship and finish as the national runner-up at the 2012 national tournament.
Jenifer Bahner, who spent the past five seasons as head coach at Cowley prior to taking the head coaching job at NCAA Division II Drury University, could not be prouder of this sophomore group.
"This sophomore class is overall the best group of student-athletes I ever worked with during my time at Cowley," Bahner said. "They were good people and great players and demonstrated superior class."
Slade signed with NCAA Division I Wofford University (Spartanburg, S.C.), while McDougald signed with NCAA Division II school University of Central Missouri (33-2 record in 2013). Hartzog signed with NCAA Division II Washburn University (31-6 record in 2013), and Specht will follow Bahner to Drury.
"They have all found the right place for them," Bahner said. "It's exciting to have a player like B.J. going with me to Drury. She will be a good representative of what we want to do at Drury."
Specht, who was named the national tournament Most Valuable Player, finished the season with a team-high 499 kills. She was also second on the team in digs (488) and aces (38) and was named Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) Player of the Week three times during the regular season.
"Going into a different school it will be nice to have that comfort level with my coach to where she knows what I can do and can help me continue to improve as a player," Specht said.
One year after leading the nation in assists, Slade finished second in the nation in assists per set (11.8) as a sophomore.
"This sophomore group, including Tory (Sharp), was very close," Slade said. "It was awesome to cap the season with a national championship."
McDougald led the team in solo bocks (60) and was second in kills (390), while Hartzog led Cowley in digs (763). McDougald was named KJCCC Player of the Week twice during the regular season, and Hartzog was named KJCCC Defensive Player of the Week five times.
"I wouldn't be the player I am today without the coaches at Cowley," Hartzog said.
The sophomores finish their two years at the school with a pair of Jayhawk Conference Eastern Division titles and a conference record of 20-0. They also captured a pair of district titles to go along with a national runner-up finish and a national championship.
Along with winning its second national championship in the past three years, Cowley finished the season unbeaten in the Jayhawk Conference Eastern Division (10-0) and won its final 14 matches. The Lady Tigers finished the season with a record of 35-4 and extended its home court-winning streak to 60 matches in a row.
"It was awesome to see the crowd support for each home game," McDougald said.