HUTCHINSON — While Goessel High School may be small, it’s impact in the volleyball world has been pretty big.
One of the top players for the Bluebirds in recent year will be on the national stage as Hutchinson Community College sophomore Page Hiebert will be competing at the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I National Championships at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.
Hutchinson, 27-12, takes on 37-1 Iowa Western at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Sports Arena.
“The season has gone really well,” Hiebert said. “At the junior college level, you start over almost every year, so the team is really young with so many new players. We really came together quickly. We all meshed so well on the court, and that has really been helpful.”
Hiebert is a 6-foot outside hitter. For the season, she has 558 kills (4.13 per set), 33 assists, 40 aces, 364 digs and 58 total blocks. She leads the team in kills and aces and is second in digs and third in blocks.
She also leads the nation in kills and is second in kills per set.
Hiebert said she choose Hutchinson just to do something a little different.
“It was the most appealing school for me,” she said. “Most of the time, players from Goessel go to the same schools — Tabor, Bethel and Hesston. I wanted to expand that circle a little bit. I knew coach (Patrick) Hill for a while. He invited me to an elite camp. I went on a visit and I loved it.”
Hiebert was the 2016 Jayhawk Conference West Freshman of the Year and first team All-Jayhawk Conference West and All-Region VI.
Getting to the nationals was a bit of revenge for the Blue Dragons. Hutchinson lost to Seward County Community College in four sets in last season’s Region VI finals.
She was first-team All-Jayhawk Conference West this season.
This season, Hutchinson lost to Seward twice in the regular season, both in four sets. After sweeping Garden City Community College in three sets in the Region VI semifinals, Hutchinson topped Seward 25-23, 26-24, 30-28 in the finals. Hiebert had 10 kills in the championship match.
“Seward was ranked third in the nation and we haven’t been ranked all year,” Hiebert said. “Some of the games we played against them have been close. We knew if we just showed up, we could beat them. We stayed focused, calm and confident and beat them in three.”
Hutchinson’s first opponent at nationals, Iowa Western, is ranked second nationally. Hesston lost to the Reivers in five sets at the Hutchinson Classic. Two of the set losses were by two points. Hiebert had 28 kills in the match.
“We took them to five this season,” Hiebert said. “With a couple of points, we could have won that match. It’s going to be a good game. We just have to put everything together to beat them and move on.”
Hiebert is hoping to get a lift from the home crowd.
“Obviously, playing at home has its benefits,” Hiebert said. “You have all the hometown supporters. You don’t have to go out of state, that means there will be a lot of students and parents there. It will be nice to have that support. It’s going to be emotional for the sophomore, since this will be our last time out there.”
Hiebert said she hasn’t decided where she will play after this season.
“I’m going to focus on this tournament and then I’ll decide where I want to go,” she said.
Just because Hiebert graduates this spring, it won’t end the family presence at HCC. Younger sister Eden, who helped lead Goessel to the championship match in Class 2A earlier this season, has committed to Hutchinson.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Page said. “That is going to open a lot of options for her in the future. I was blessed to play with her in high school as well as an older sister (Alex). I have another older sister who also played.”