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Three Buccaneer volleyball players will participate in their last matches at the Toepke Center this weekend.
They are the last of the first – the only players from the 2008 inaugural team at Dawson Community College to return for a second season – the majority of the team graduated last spring.
Amanda Shadbolt, Terah Lund and Janelle Sheeran all were part of something historic at DCC, and they will be honored during sophomore night at Saturday’s match against Eastern Wyoming College, set to begin at 7 p.m. The Bucs take on Northwest College earlier in the day, beginning at 3 p.m.
“This is a special group of sophomores,” said Coach John Marble. “They are our first graduating class, and I could not be more proud of these three women and what they have done to establish Buccaneer Volleyball.”
Lund, a Huntley native who has been the starting setter for about 60 Buccaneer matches so far, said the idea of playing for her home crowd for the last time is sad. “It’ll be sad, but we will give it a good fight,” she said. “It’ll be a fun game.”
Lund said she has been surprised by the level of emotion that comes with DCC volleyball. “I never thought my college career was going to be this intense,” she said. “Everything’s been so competitive. It’s never been easy for us. It’s definitely been a good time here. The girls have been awesome. The coaches have been awesome. It was cool to get Coach Marble again.”
Lund had played for Marble for a time during high school.
“Terah has provided leadership as a setter for the past two years,” Marble said. “Having known Terah for several years, it has truly been a pleasure watching her develop as a player and a person.” Lund is ranked 12th in the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Region IX for assists with 586 in 98 games so far this season. She also is ranked for service percentage and attack efficiency.
Marble said Shadbolt, who came to DCC from Humboldt, Sask., has been an all-around leader for the Bucs. “Amanda has been a mainstay in our offense this year,” he said. “She has consistently been our best passer.” Shadbolt, who earned the Mon-Dak conference player of the week title in late September, said she hopes to use her experience playing with the Bucs to go on to compete at the university level. “I have had an awesome experience at DCC,” she said. “It has always been a dream of mine to play for a college team. This was a great start to my university journey. Playing volleyball at DCC is just another dream and a goal to work toward while getting my education.” Shadbolt is ranked in numerous Region IX categories. She is 12th in service aces, 13th in service percentage and is listed near the top of the ladder for most digs in a match with 26. She also is recognized in the kill category with 151 on the season.
For Sheeran, a Kalispell native, the weekend will be difficult as she watches her team from the sidelines, leaning on crutches after suffering an ankle injury earlier this week. She gave up a university academic scholarship just after the fall season began to come back to DCC for one more year to play the sport she loves.
Sheeran, also a Buccaneer basketball player, hurt her ankle during a pre-season basketball practice. “I’m really disappointed,” she said. “It’s sad to know that I came in late and now I am missing the last few weeks. Last year, I knew that I had an opportunity to come back. It’s sad to know that it’s almost over. I enjoy it a lot, and I’ve enjoyed the girls.”
Sheeran, who has played in about 25 matches for the Bucs this season, said she felt like her game was just starting to really click in the last two weeks before her injury. She had broken a school record for solo blocks, going up for five against Bismarck State College at home. That record has since been broken once more, this time by Freshman Kirby Sabec, who had six blocks against Williston State College earlier this week. “It’s frustrating,” Sheeran said. “My hitting and blocking were finally starting to come together. But I’m happy with the matches I did get to play. What I liked about this year is that the team is well-rounded. We all come together and we play well together and get things done as a team. There’s not any individual that pulls the team. I’ve just enjoyed every minute I had to play, every practice.” “Janelle is a joy to have in the gym,” Marble said. “No one works harder than her. She is always asking to spend more time practicing, she constantly strives to improve.” Sheeran said she hopes to be able to continue collegiate play at the university level. “I’d definitely like to play somewhere,” she said. Sheeran is recognized on the Region IX’s attack efficiency rankings with 79 kills this season.
After this weekend, the Bucs have just three regular season matches to play before the Region IX tournament. They will travel to Bismarck, Torrington and Casper to finish up Mon-Dak and Region IX conference competition. Lund said the team, 5-28, is determined to finish strong. “The goal is to finish hard and not give up,” she said. “No matter what happens, we end up strong and we end on a good note and the freshmen are excited for next year.”
By Melissa Smith