Oct. 20, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Wharton County Junior College Pioneers volleyball team is currently third in Region XIV with four games left in the regular season. Pictured attacking the ball in a recent game against Blinn College is Torri Arrington of Boling (No. 6). Freedom Stephenson of Santa Fe (No. 20) stands ready to assist.
WHARTON, TEXAS – It’s not easy to play in one of the most competitive regions in the National Junior College Athletic Association. But the Wharton County Junior College Pioneers volleyball team is getting the job done, holding a third place spot in Region XIV with three games to go.
The Pioneers are currently 7-6 in conference and 18-9 overall.
“Our region is notorious for being competitive and getting stronger as the season progresses, so we have to get better daily,” said WCJC volleyball coach Brianna Janecka. “Our goal is to improve with every point, both mentally and physically.”
The Pioneers started the season on the wrong foot, with key players suffering injuries. Janecka said underclassmen stepped up to fill those gaps, taking on roles that were unexpected. Soon, the team began playing as a unit – and the results were remarkable. The Pioneers won their first six games of the season, finally losing to Navarro College in September, 1-3. Another loss followed before WCJC shut-out Victoria College 3-0. On Sept. 16, the Pioneers began a three-game winning streak before dropping a non-conference game to Southern Idaho in Baytown. After that, WCJC bounced back for a four-game winning streak, beating Tyler, Lee, Cisco and Our Lady of the Lake’s junior varsity squad. The Pioneers’ most recent game was against Panola College on Oct. 19. It was a tough loss.
WCJC players have garnered several accolades so far this season. Tori Arrington, an outside hitter from Boling, is 8th in the nation for kills per set with a 3.79 kps average, and is 13th in the nation for total kills with 303. Freedom Stephenson, a libero from Santa Fe, is ranked 13th in the nation for digs and 14th in the nation for digs per set with a 5.07 average. Stephenson was also named the Region XIV Co-Libero Player of the Week during weeks four and six of conference play. Arrington, Stephenson and Valerie Martinez of Corpus Christi were also named to the All-Tournament Team at the Lee College Invitational in September.
The Pioneers will wrap up the regular season on Oct. 28 against Lee College. The game begins at 6 p.m. in the Gene Bahnsen Gymnasium in Wharton.