MASON CITY - The NIACC volleyball team returns eight sophomores for the upcoming 2019 season.
Returning for the Lady Trojans, who open the season Aug. 23-24 at the McHenry County Invitational in Rockford, Ill., are Tessa Sienknecht, Kennedy Meister, Sarah Goodrich, Kayla Lentz, Shelby Heston, Taylor Gerdes, Sarah Kimberly and Braylee Wood.
Another sophomore (Alexa Loftus) joined the team this season after playing on the NIACC women's basketball team in the 2018-19 season.
NIACC was 23-15 overall in 2018 and advanced to the NJCAA Region XI-B title match. The Lady Trojans topped Hawkeye CC 3-2 in the opening round of the regional tournament and fell to Northeast CC 3-0 in the championship match.
Meister, who was a second-team all-region selection, recorded 408 kills (4th on school's all-time single season list) and 573 digs (4th on school's all-time single season list) during her freshman season. Meister also accumulated 66 blocks, 51 ace serves and 34 assists in 2018.
Heston, who missed most of the 2018 season with a knee injury, returns for her third season on the NIACC campus after receiving a medical hardship from the NJCAA. Heston accumulated 223 kills and 259 digs as a freshman in 2017.
Heston, who played in 13 matches in 2018, accumulated 98 kills, 56 digs, 32 blocks and 17 ace serves before her knee injury last season.
Kimberly led the Lady Trojans with 105 digs in 2018. She also recorded 156 kills and 90 digs.
NIACC NOTES: The Lady Trojans open their home season on Sept. 4 in an ICCAC match against DMACC ... Chris Brandt returns for her 10th season as coach of the Lady Trojans ... NIACC's sophomore night is slated for Oct. 23 against Iowa Lakes ... The team's annual Think Pink match is set for Oct. 24 against the Wartburg College Junior Varsity.