Four members of the 2017 Northwest college volleyball team will take their talents to the next level, signing letters of intent to play at four-year programs.
Middle blockers Julianna Hughes and Holly Pittman, right side hitter Aleksandra Saric and libero Bre Donarski signed their letters at a ceremony on the NWC campus last week. Lady Trappers interim head coach Bethany Conde coached all four players as an assistant under former coach Shaun Pohlman, and said each player has earned the opportunity to continue their volleyball careers.
“All four of these players were great leaders on the team,” Conde said, adding, “They brought a lot of fire, a lot of consistency to the team. That alone, we will miss them for that next season.”
Powell native Donarski has signed with the University of Mary, a Division II school located near Bismarck, North Dakota. The libero for the Lady Trappers the past two seasons, Donarski will bring leadership and a strong work ethic to the Lady Marauders next season.
“She [Donarski] is a strong leader on and off the court and will do anything to help push her teammates,” Conde said. “She was a quiet leader; she led by example. The girls really looked up to her. She’s the kind of player that, even when she was having an off day, she still played with that confidence. Her mindset was always, ‘I can get it done.’ She never wavered, and we never worried if she’d get the job done.”
Hughes will join Donarski at the University of Mary in what Conde described as a “happy coincidence.”
“She [Hughes] had gone on a couple of other school visits, but decided this was the best fit,” Conde said. “Who wouldn’t like being able to move on with one of your current teammates?”
Hughes, a Lakewood, Colorado, native, was named to the NJCAA Region IX Academics All-Region team in both of her seasons at NWC.
“She is a very hard working athlete who will do whatever she can for the betterment of her team,” Conde said. “She [Hughes] was never selfish. She played a couple of different positions in the front row, but she would always go in wherever Coach Pohlman would ask her to go in. Just a very unselfish player, very coachable.”
Valencia, California, product Pittman will have the furthest to travel next season, signing with Chaminade University of Honolulu in Hawaii.
An NJCAA Region IX Academics All-Region selection in her two seasons at NWC, Pittman was also named to the 2017 All-Region IX North and Region IX North All-Tournament Teams as well as Second Team WCCAC All-Conference. She was a vocal leader on and off the court the past two seasons at NWC, and Conde said her leadership and willingness to do anything for her teammates will serve her well at the next level.
“Holly [Pittman] sets very high expectations for herself and constantly strives to meet those expectations,” she said. “She had a lot of other offers, but she got to go visit Hawaii and just loved it.”
Calling her a “very unique individual,” Conde said Pittman will bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the Silverswords next season.
“Chaminade University is getting a very hard worker [in Pittman],” Conde said. “She’s also very coachable, and will do what the coaches ask of her, as well as whatever will help out the team.”
Saric, from Niksic, Montenegro, has signed with Hampton University in Virginia, a Division I program that will compete next season in the Big South Conference. The 6 foot, 5 inch Saric was a dominant force in her seasons with the Lady Trappers, named to the 2017 All-Region IX North and Region IX All-Tournament teams, as well as being named to the WCCAC All Conference 1st team.
“She always lets her presence known on and off the court,” Conde said. “She was here at NWC for three seasons, so the other players relied on her for leadership since she’d been here the longest. She was a great example of what Coach Pohlman wanted to bring to Lady Trapper volleyball. Of course, her height is a tremendous asset, but she’s a strong right side hitter.”
Saric also has a tremendous work ethic, according to Conde, especially in her off-season preparation.
“She’s [Saric] is very committed to lifting, staying in shape,” Conde said. “That’s one of her really big strengths, she really enjoys that aspect of the game. Her conditioning is outstanding, so that will never be an issue.”