Lady Rebels open 2021 season with trio of matches

  Jessyca Brown
  Tuesday, August 24, 2021 1:47 PM
  Athletics

Hillsboro, TX

The Hill College Lady Rebels look to compete in their first exhibition matches of the season this Friday and Saturday in Odessa at the Wrangler Classic and Wrangler Invitational tournaments.

The team, ranked No. 19 in the 2021 NJCAA DI volleyball preseason poll, will compete in two matches against New Mexico and New Mexico Military on Friday, Aug. 27, at noon and 5 p.m., respectively. On Saturday, Aug. 28, the team will take on No. 5 Odessa College at 11 a.m.

The Lady Rebels are opening the 2021 season under new leadership as former assistant coach Dylan Butler takes over the Hill College volleyball program.

“Taking over this program is surreal,” Butler said of his new appointment. “After serving as the assistant coach for the last two seasons and witnessing the strength of the program, I’m really excited to lead and develop this team, which has a high ceiling for success.”

Under his leadership, Butler said fans can expect to see a new, defense-focused team this season.

“Fans can expect to see exciting defensive rallies and lots of stuff blocks on opposing teams,” he said. “In comparison to many teams in the top 20 in the country, we are an undersized team. It will be our job to never let the ball hit the ground and play bigger than we are.”

The team is coming off a short turn around from the 2020-21 season due to Covid, which ended in April with a Region V north conference championship and 14-6 overall record. The Lady Rebels had some post season appearances with a shot at claiming the national title. However, Hill lost the Region V district championship to Odessa, and their second chance at a national bid was lost in a cross-region match-up to Region I’s Yavapai College.

“This is the first time Hill College has not qualified for the national tournament in eight or nine years,” said Butler. “Although the end of last season didn’t go as we hoped, the loss birthed a new-found desire in our returning players to push hard over the summer and inspire the incoming freshmen to get back to the national tournament.”

And the team is looking good to make that comeback this season with three returning NTJCAC All-Conference and standout players from last season, including 1st Team All-Conference middle blocker, McKenya Sorrels, and 2nd Team All-Conference outside hitters Noelia Rocha and Shelby Tally.

“These three athletes have made huge strides physically and will be a force for us this season,” Butler said.

Incoming freshmen also bring a lot of promise to this year’s team including outside hitter Autumn Moses, middle blocker Teia Woodson, and defensive specialists Gracie Menchaca, Paige Hartsburg and Annie Creery.

“Autumn has a cannon of an arm, and Teia will develop into one of the best blockers in Hill College history,” said Butler. “We have really great defensive specialists coming in who will elevate our back court abilities significantly.”

This year’s squad is also welcoming two international athletes to the roster for the first time in nearly 10 years. Outside hitter Izabella Ceratti joins the team from Tijuana, Mexico, and setter Manuela Cripa Nasser joins from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Ceratti played for Mexico’s 2019 women’s national under-18 (U18) volleyball team, which competed in the U18 Girls' Volleyball Pan American Cup in Mexico and the FIVB Volleyball Girls' U18 World Championship in Egypt. Ceratti also competed for Mexico’s CETYS Universidad and representative Baja California club team.

Prior to Covid, Nasser studied abroad for a year in Washington State competing for the Cowlitz Aces Volleyball Club. In Brazil, Nasser competed in a Jundiai club team and received eight match MVP awards.

Conference play begins Sept. 14 at Vernon College, and the Lady Rebels will host Southwestern Christian at home Sept. 16. Home games will be fully open to the public. Due to Covid, the schedule could change. Fans are encouraged to check the schedule regularly on the NJCAA website at https://www.njcaa.org/sports/wvball/2021-22/div1/schedule. Fans can also receive updates by following the @HillCollegeAthletics Facebook page.

 

2021 Hill College Volleyball Schedule

Date

Time

Location

Opponent

Aug. 27

12 p.m.

Away

New Mexico (Wrangler Classic)

Aug. 27

5 p.m.

Away

New Mexico Military (Wrangler Invitational)

Aug. 28

11 a.m.

Away

Odessa (Wrangler Invitational)

Sept. 10

10 a.m.

Away

Blinn (Temple Tournament)

Sept. 10

 4 p.m.

Away

Panola (CenTex Invitational)

Sept. 11

2 p.m.

Away

Lee (CenTex Invitational)

Sept. 14

5 p.m.

Away

Vernon College*

Sept. 16

5 p.m.

Home

Southwestern Christian*

Sept. 18

6 p.m.

Home

Navarro

Sept. 23

5 p.m.

Home

North Central Texas College*

Sept. 28

5 p.m.

Away

Ranger College*

Sept. 30

5 p.m.

Home

Temple*

Oct. 5

5 p.m.

Away

Cisco College*

Oct. 7

5 p.m.

Home

Vernon*

Oct. 12

5 p.m.

Away

Southwestern Christian*

Oct. 19

5 p.m.

Away

North Central Texas*

Oct. 21

5 p.m.

Home

Ranger*

Oct. 26

5 p.m.

Away

Temple*

Oct. 28

5 p.m.

Home

Cisco*

 

2020-21 Hill College Volleyball Roster

               NAME                            POSITION            YEAR

1             Gracie Menchaca            DS                       Fr

2             Jaliel Rodriguez              MB                       So

3             Noelia Rocha                  OH                       So

5             Taylor Dinkelmann          RS                       So

7             Shelby Tally                    OH                      So

8             Autumn Moses                OH                      Fr

9             Izabella Ceratti               OH                      Fr

10           Paige Hartsburg               DS                      Fr

11           McKenya Sorrells             MB                      So

12           Teia Woodson                  MB                      Fr

13           Annie Creery                   DS                      Fr

14           Ainsley Meissner              MB                      So

17           Manuela Cripa                 S                         Fr

18           Madison Babers               MB                      So

23           Emma Nickerson              RS                      So

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2021-22 Team Photo