Local duo takes in NAIA Volleyball Championship experience
SIOUX CITY — A pair of Plymouth County graduates have made impacts on the volleyball court right away as freshmen and are now taking in the experience of playing in the NAIA Women’s Volleyball Championship at the Tyson Events Center this past week.
Krista Zenk, a Le Mars Community graduate, is one of the top attackers for Morningside College in her first season. She says she is glad to have the opportunity to play in the event.
Haley Delperdang, a Remsen St. Mary’s graduate, has also played a role on one of the top teams in the country in Dordt College. Last year’s national runner-up after losing to Hastings College in the championship game, the Defenders are trying to return to the title game, something Delperdang believes is in reach for the team.
“I definitely think we can get back there again this year,” Delperdang said. “It would be great to be champions. We have to have our goals set high, and they are, and just believe in ourselves and know that we can do it.”
The freshman saw the court in the early part of the season, but has seen her playing time diminish after a midseason return of an injured teammate. Delperdang averaged two kills per match played for the fourth-ranked team in the country entering the tournament. She would like to get back on the court and says her experience earlier in the season will help her if and when the opportunity presents itself.
“One of the players came back from a shoulder injury,” Delperdang said. “It’s great that she’s back. It stinks that I’m not able to play, but it’s great being able to support her and help her out too. It’s nice to have that experience and know what to look forward to.”
Both Zenk and Delperdang agree it’s nice to be able to play for a championship in their own backyard.
“It’s really nice to be super close to home,” Zenk said. “It’s just nice to have the school come and support us and parents can always come. It’s nice to see familiar faces in the crowd.”
Delperdang watched last year’s title game as a recruit and is excited to be back and on the team this season.
“It’s really cool being in this experience,” Delperdang said. “It’s just such a great environment and it’s so great to be back.”
Bracket play for the NAIA Championship begins on Friday, December 1 with the Round of 16 and quarterfinals. Saturday morning, December 2, will feature the two semifinal contests while a National Champion will be crowned at 7 p.m. at the Tyson Events Center. The championship match will also be streamed by Hastings College Media on ESPN3.