Hill College volleyball begins 2022 season with challenging schedule

  Jessyca Brown
  Friday, August 19, 2022 2:32 PM
  Athletics

Hillsboro, TX

Hill College Head Volleyball Coach Dylan Butler has extremely high expectations this season as his team is currently ranked No. 20 in the nation by the National Junior College Athletic Association’s NJCAA Division I preseason poll.

Butler, now in his second season with Hill College as head coach, helped lead his team to the National Tournament appearance last season after going 9-0 in the second half of conference play as well as winning the Region 5 championship.

“We should be a very well-rounded team this season,” Butler said, “and I am excited to see how our returners will lead this year.”

Last season, Hill College landed five players on the 2021 North Texas Junior College Athletic Association (TJCAC) Region 5 All-Conference Volleyball Team. Three are returning as sophomores this season - including Region 5 Newcomer of the Year and First Team All-Conference outside hitter Izabella Ceratti.

Ceratti, a former member of the U19 Mexico Team, finished the 2021 season ranked No. 28 in the nation for points scored per set; and she also led the team with 318 kills.

“Having the caliber of returners this year that we do, whose leadership and drive are second to none, will play a huge role in our future successes,” Butler said. “Also, we have some talented incoming freshmen who should complement our style of play and will help push us closer to our goal of being one of the best defensive teams in the country.”

This year’s group will be tested early as Hill College opens its 2022 campaign at No. 13 Tyler Junior College on Tuesday. Then, just three days later, the players will travel across the state to participate in the Odessa College Invitational Tournament where they will match up against two nationally-ranked powerhouses - No. 11 Salt Lake Community College (Utah) on Aug. 26; and No. 2 New Mexico Military Institute (2021 National Tournament Runner-Up) on Aug. 27.

“I designed our schedule to be challenging this season,” Butler added. “We will be participating in three extremely competitive tournaments that include several national-level teams.”

Joining Butler this season is former 2021 First Team All-Conference outside hitter and team captain Shelby Tally who will now showcase her talents as an assistant coach. “Shelby’s knowledge of our program as a former player will be instrumental in the development of our student athletes striving to reach our goals,” Butler said. “I am excited to have her on board.”

 

Returning sophomores

Izabella Ceratti (Tijuana, Mexico) - outside hitter

  • Former member of the U19 Mexico National Team
  • 2021 Newcomer of the Year
  • 2021 First Team All-Conference
  • 2021 team kill leader (318)
  • 2021 - ranked No. 28 in the country in points per set

Paige Hartsburg (Flower Mound) - libero

  • 2021 Second Team All-Conference
  • 2021 team dig leader (334), averaging 3.59 digs per set

Manuela Cripa (Sao Paulo, Brazil) - setter

  • 2021 team assist leader (866), averaging 8.57 assists per set
  • 2021 - ranked No. 32 in the country in assists per set

Madison Babers (Waxahachie) - middle blocker

  • 2021 Second Team All-Conference
  • 2021 team blocking leader (58), averaging 0.85 blocks per set
  • Has a more than a 38-inch vertical jumping ability

Makenna Gantt (Bridgeport) - setter/opposite

  • Transferred in the spring from Dallas Baptist University
  • A 6-foot left-handed setter who can run the offense at a high speed

Autumn Moses (Sinton) - outside/right side hitter

  • Extremely physical player who attacks the ball at more than 50 mph from the service line and from the net
  • Instrumental in Hill College’s spring match against Texas State with 12 kills and 4 aces

 

Key freshmen

Daniela Gomez (Bogota, Colombia) - outside hitter

  • “Dani” comes to Hill College with a wealth of high-level volleyball experience competing for her club team, “Wizards Volei” in Colombia
  • A fantastic outside hitter with great ball control and the ability to score from anywhere on the court

Natalie “Paige” Hildebrand (Flower Mound) - setter

  • Paige comes to Hill College after a successful high school career at Flower Mound Marcus High School where she was one of the starting setters in a 6-2 system
  • 2021 District 6-6A Second Team All-District selection
  • Paige is the full package as a setter - as she can run an effective offense and also play defense like a libero

Samantha Stahl (Lewisville) - defensive specialist

  • “Sam” comes to Hill College after a successful high school career at Hebron High School where she was an outside hitter
  • Sam has made the transition to a defensive specialist and should bring a consistency to Hill College’s serve receive line that will allow an effectively-run offense

Following a long stretch of tournament competition, as well as playing strong opponents on the road, Hill College will host Temple College on Sept. 20 for its first home game of the season beginning at 6 p.m. in the Bob Bullock Gymnasium in Hillsboro.

 

For more information, please visit the Hill College Volleyball webpage at https://www.hillcollege.edu/Athletics/Volleyball/Volleyball.html.