Three Lady Blues lead team in their own way

Stephanie Lockhart

Mandi Cox is sophomore opposite hitter for the Lady Blues volleyball team.

Cox is a 2004 graduate of Central Heights High School, were she was a three time all-area and all-league selection and earned Pomona All-Tournament honors.

While at Central Heights, Cox played basketball and ran track as well. Cox earned all-area and all-league honors in basketball and placed third in the state at the high jump.

As a freshman in 2004, Cox played in 51 games and 30 matches and finished sixth on the team with 1.10 kills per game. She recorded 62 kills, 11 solo blocks and 20 assisted blocks.

So far this season, Cox has recorded 270 kills, 20 solo blocks and 78 assisted blocks in 111 games. She had a career-high 19 kills against Rockhurst Nov. 1 where she also hit .533 percent. Cox leads the MIAA with a .357 hitting percentage and is No. 10 in the MIAA with .90 blocks per game. (MIAA stats as of Oct. 30)

Cox chose to play volleyball at Washburn because Chris Herron, head volleyball coach, was the first to recruit her for volleyball.

“I respected coach (Herron) from day one,” said Cox.

Off the court Cox is described as bubbly, opinionated, hardheaded and a really good friend. Valerie Peterson, teammate, said on the court Cox has a lot of power with a good vertical jump and is a good clutch player.

“Mandi brings out the team personality,” said Herron.

Cox also has a signature move on the court, when she puts down a kill or puts up a big block she does a unique jump that has earned her the nickname “the Frog” by some.

Clara Cox, Mandi Cox’s mother, said Mandi’s assets off the court are that she is very bright and level-headed and her assets on the court are that she is aggressive and a good team player.

Cox’s favorite part of volleyball is being part of the team and starting school with 14 friends.

Spring ball and out of season practices are Cox’s least favorite parts of volleyball.

“We are very proud of her,” said Clara Cox, Mandi’s mother.

Clara went on to say that Mandi has accomplish more than people thought she would coming from the high school she did and that she has improved her volleyball skills.

“I appreciate the support and am happy they let me make my own decisions,” said Cox, about her parents.

Stephanie Holub

Stephanie Holub is a freshman libero/defensive specialist for the Lady Blues volleyball team.

Holub is a 2005 graduate of Blue Valley West High School were she was a member of the 6A Sub State champion teams in 2002 and 2003. Holub led the Eastern Kansas League in digs with 292 to earn league Defensive Specialist of the Year honors.

During her junior year Holub had 45 aces and earned All-Sun County and honorable mention 6A All-State honors.

As a Lady Blue Holub has recorded a career-high 20 digs against Colorado School of Mines Sept. 2 and has played in 87 games.

Holub said her reason for joining the Lady Blues was that she fit in well and when she visited campus she felt at home.

According to Trent Jones, assistant coach, Holub has allowed the team more defense and increased ball control.

Teammates have described Holub as insane, wild and outgoing off the court.

“She (Holub) would talk to a wall to carry on a conversation,” said Cox.

On the court Holub is very vocal, helpful and a leader according to teammates. Cox said Holub will pull team members aside and point out things she sees on the court that they can take advantage of.

Cheryl and Scott Holub, Stephanie Holub’s parents, said she is very intense and focused on the court. She wants to win and win with integrity and she believes in the team.

According to Cheryl and Scott Holub Stephanie’s assets as a person are that she is strong, independent, very supportive and a loyal friend. On the court her assets are her ability to read the court and that she likes the technical side of the game.

Holub’s favorite part of volleyball is hanging out with the team that is very supportive. Holub said there is not any one thing she likes less than anything else.

“They (her parents) are really supportive and it means a lot to have them there (at matches),” said Holub.

Stephanie Nitz

Stephanie Nitz is a freshman middle hitter for the Lady Blues.

Nitz is from Moline, Ill. and is by far the farthest Lady Blue from home. Nitz is a 2005 graduate of Moline High School were she was named Quad Cities Player of the Year with a school-record 277 kill, 68 blocks, 157 digs and 47 service aces.

Nitz was a two-time first team all-conference and all-region selection and led Moline to three conference titles and two regional titles in three years.

In the last three seasons Moline won 95 matches and advanced to the Class AA Elite Eight her senior season.

As a Lady Blue Nitz has played the part of backup middle hitter and has learned the right side to also become a backup right side hitter.

According to Jones Nitz also has a good serve which is an asset for her along with being able to play both middle and right side.

Nitz chose to attend Washburn for volleyball and the opportunity to play.

According to Jones Nitz is a fighter, she started off really home sick but she worked through it.

“She (Nitz) comes off as shy but she is not shy at all,” said Cox.

Nitz has been described by teammates as quiet until you get to know her then she is outgoing.

“Stephanie is not a vocal player but she is confident,” said Jones.

Cox said Nitz is a good hitter who is quick and that Nitz has added depth because she plays different than Anna Byers and herself.

Allen Nitz, Stephanie Nitz’ father, said Stephanie is a leader not a follower and she likes setting her own fashion trends. She won’t take the easy road and she works very hard to get what she wants.

Nitz’ favorite part of volleyball is the chemistry of the team and her least favorite part is the running.

“Stephanie has made us (her parents) proud of her,” said Allen Nitz, Stephanie’s father.

Nitz also has praises for her parents.

“Thanks,” said Nitz, is the one thing she would tell her parents for all of their support.