A Dawson Community College Volleyball player is transferring to a four-year program.
Freshman Ariel Johnson was recruited by Coach Katie Howells from the University of Montana Western in Dillon.
She said she will begin school in Dillon after Christmas.
"I feel like it's kind of a step up going to a four-year program," she said.
Johnson, a Kalispell native, said she looks forward to being closer to her home town with the move.
Also, she said, she looks forward to playing for a bigger school.
She played 94 games with the Lady Buccaneers this fall, coming up with 141 kills, 166 digs and 15 aces on the season.
DCC Coach John Marble said he is happy for Johnson.
"I'm super excited for Ariel to have this opportunity and take that step up," he said. "When we talked early on, this is what we talked about, and when that's a priority for players, we want to make that happen for them." The DCC volleyball program is in its second year and Johnson is the first player to go on to a four-year program.
"I'm excited for her to get a chance to play for an NAIA school," Marble said.
Western is affiliated with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. The Bulldogs ended their last season with a 4-20 record.
Johnson's departure will leave a hole for Marble to fill on his roster.
"We're definitely going to miss her next year," he said, noting that recruiting efforts are well underway for the fall.
"I feel like we¹re on track," he said. "We're further ahead than we were last year." So far, Marble said, he has one verbal commitment from a potential player and has also had several other contacts as well.
"We're going to focus a lot of effort this year on ball control players," he said.
He said the team has been working hard since the season ended both in the gym and in the classroom and he is looking forward to spring training.
More information on Buccaneer volleyball is available online at www.dawson.edu/category/athletics/volleyball.
By Melissa Smith