Category Archives: Bronco Volleyball

NMMI outlasts Tyler to take home Third

The 2017 Bronco volleyball team, along with NJCAA representatives, pose for a quick pic with their third-place NJCAA National Championship trophy.

NMMI Sports Press

HUTCHINSON, KS – In the third-place match at the 2017 NJCAA National Championship tournament, the NMMI Bronco volleyball team outlasted Tyler Junior College in a five-set grudge match.

NMMI quickly won the first two sets (25-23 and 25-18) but couldn’t close out a close third (23-25) against the seventh-ranked Apaches. T

Tyler JC stormed back again in the fourth set (21-25) and tied the match at two games apiece.

In the final set both teams played top-notch volleyball, extending the set well beyond the ‘first-to-15’ goal. The Lady Apaches opened up with a 4-1 run, but the Lady Broncos battled back to knot the score back up, 10-10.

After that, neither team would take more than a one point lead.

Tied 18-18, NMMI finally got the two consecutive kills needed for the win, by going to their two All-American nominees. Karen Rivera-Herrera got the first kill off a set from Mirna Kovacevic, and Hannah Davis knocked down the winner off a pass from Karime Raygoza.

When asked what she was thinking during the last point of the nail-biting fifth set, head Coach Shelby Forchtner said, “She (Hannah Davis) better put the ball down. As soon as the ball hit the ground I felt a sense of pressure off of my shoulders because I really wanted these kids to win this game.”

The win over Tyler – along with the opening round win over No. 4 Western Nebraska CC and quarterfinal win over No. 5 Hill College – gives NMMI their highest finish at the national tournament in program history.

“It is a huge step to be one of the top 16 teams, but then to come out and perform like we knew we could is really impressive to us as a coaching staff. They stepped up to the plate and played at a high level the entire time we were here and that is exactly what you want from your team when you play at the end of the year,” said Forchtner.

The head coach of No. 1 Miami Dade College – the team that bested NMMI in the semifinals and this year’s 2017 NJCAA National Champions – told coach Forchtner that NMMI was one of the best defenses and serving teams that they have faced all year.

The Broncos had four players with double digit kills: Paola Rivera-Herrera finished with 16 kills, Kim Trauboth had 15, McKayla Landreth had 13 and Hannah Davis had 12.

NMMI closes their season with a 31-12 record and a No. 3 final NJCAA ranking.

Bronco volleyball advances to semifinals with win over No. 5 Hill College

Jump serve by NMMI’s Paola Rivera-Herrera. Rivera-Herrera had three aces in the Broncos’ quarterfinal match vs. Hill College.

NMMI Sports Press

The NMMI Bronco volleyball team defeated No. 5 ranked Hill College in three straight sets (25-19, 25-19, 25-18) to advance to the semifinals of the NJCAA DI Women’s Volleyball Nationals Championship Tournament.

The Broncos started out strong with McKayla Landreth leading the way with seven kills on 10 attempts and a hitting percentage of .600. Hannah Davis was close behind, adding nine kills on 19 attempts, good for a .421 hitting percentage.

Head Coach Shelby Forchtner said, “Everyone did an amazing job offensively and our kids know they have to do everything well to be successful here.”

Not only has the offense been clicking, but the Broncos’ blocking definitely stood out, stuffing the Rebels at the net 12 times in the match.

NMMI also served well in the win against Hill.

Forchtner said, “We told them from the beginning that serving was going to be a big thing for us and that we needed to do that really well here to succeed.”

Although the Broncos won 3-0, Hill was a very good team and had only lost one game prior to the quarterfinals match against NMMI.

“Their outsides are very athletic and score a lot of points and do a lot of really good things,” said Forchtner.

According to coach Forchtner, the key to NMMI’s success was getting Hill out of their fast paced offense. “We needed to get them out of system and we needed them not to run a faster tempo ball on us and that’s what we did.”

Tomorrow at 6:30 PM CST, NMMI will take on defending national champions and this year’s No. 1 seed, Miami Dade College. The winner advances to play in the NJCAA National Championship title match.

Bronco volleyball stuns No. 4 Western Nebraska in opening round of NJCAA National Championships

McKayla Landreth gets one of her 11 kills against WNCC. Photo by Tanner Hightower-Wilson.

NMMI Sports Press

HUTCHINSON, KS – Thirteenth-seeded New Mexico Military Institute upset No. 4 Western Nebraska Community College in four sets in the opening round of the NJCAA DI Volleyball Championships: 18-25, 25-20, 25-20 and 25-16.

This was the first time the Lady Bronco team has won their opening round match at nationals and will result, regardless of a win or loss in the second round, in the highest final ranking in the program’s history.

Assistant Coach Alonso Ibarra said, “We blocked out of our minds against WNCC. That is what gave us the momentum to finish the game strong.”

NMMI finished with 23 total blocks.

Another bright spot for NMMI was the arm of Mckayla Landreth. Landreth hit .455 percent and had 11 kills on 22 attempts.

There’s no rest for the eight teams left in the championship bracket, as later tonight, the quarterfinal round will begin – NMMI will take on fifth-seeded Hill College at 7:30 PM CST.

Hill College won their opening-round match in three straight sets vs. No. 12 Monroe College: 26-24, 25-17, 25-11.

NMMI and Hill College have faced each other just once this season, back on Sept. 29 in a match at the Tyler Junior College Invitational. Hill won in three sets: 25-23, 25-16, 25-20.

Ibarra said, “For us to beat Hill, we will have to serve aggressive and play fast.”

Bronco volleyball preps for second-straight NJCAA National Championship Tournament

2017 Bronco Volleyball
Top row, left to right: Agape Mafua, Mariah Morris, Madison Harris, McKayla Landreth, Mirna Kovacevic, Hannah Davis, Megan Martinez, Beki Eaton, and Gali Sanchez.
Bottom row: Brigitte Needham, Vasiti Baleilomaloma, Valentina Vincent, Lexie Jackson, Karime Raygoza, Briana Bustillos, Paola Rivera-Herrera, and Kim Trauboth.

NMMI Sports Press

The Bronco volleyball team has been to the NJCAA’s national tournament two years in a row, and four out of the last five years. For some, that makes the November road trip almost routine. But for the squad and its coaches, it’s anything but.

“I think sometimes people downplay this just because we have gone the last four or five years, but this is hard,” said coach Shelby Forchtner. “It’s hard to win our region every year because we have really good teams in our region. It’s hard to play well in conference then turn around and beat everybody the very next weekend. So it’s not easy, and these kids have just done a really good job of staying focused this year.”

That focus included sweeping through both the conference regular season and the regional tournament undefeated — a first for the Institute — with only a very few matches going to more than three games. All their losses were at tough tournaments, most to highly-ranked teams. Which might seem a negative, heading into a tournament where everyone is ranked.

But Forchtner is thinking positive.

“I actually have a lot of confidence in them going into the national tournament and knocking off a big seed,” she said. “I hope they have the same confidence because I really think this year we could go do some damage.

“We’ve looked at the top four teams, had game film on them, and have picked it apart to figure out what we want to do next. We’re not really going to change anything in how we do things. We’re just going to try to do things a little bit better so we can slow them down.”

The No. 13-ranked Broncos (28-11) will face No. 4 Western Nebraska (32-6) in the opener, a team the coach said her squad matches up well against.

“I think they are very similar to us in that they’re very balanced,” she said. “They have a lot of different offensive threats and they’ve got good defense. So I feel like we match up pretty well with them, and if we have one or two people who stand out and play really well, and we serve tough, then I think we can kind of take charge.”

The Cougars seem to struggle when people serve them tough, the coach said, and serving tough is one of the Bronco’s assets. But it’s only one of many positives this year.

“We do a lot of things really well,” Forchtner said. “I think it’s hard for teams to stop us because we have so many offensive weapons.”

Two of those weapons include NJCAA All-American nominees Paola Rivera-Herrea – a freshman – and sophomore Hannah Davis.

Mexican native Rivera-Herrera led the Broncos in set assists (644) and service aces (67) this season, and was third on the team in kills (238), despite her setter status.

Davis, a right-side hitter from Utah, is NMMI’s kill leader with 325. She’s also been helping shut down opposing offenses – second on the team in total blocks with 115.

Sophomore middles Gali Sanchez and McKayla Landreth are both solid in their positions, playing 38 out of the Broncos’ 39 matches to date.

Sanchez, a local talent from Roswell, NM, adds another 172 kills to that potent Institute attack, along with 43 total blocks on the defensive side.

Landreth is a South Carolinian with family in Fort Sumner, NM – including sister Ashley, a former standout Bronco volleyball player. McKayla is a wall on defense, leading NMMI in blocks with 122. She’s also second on the team in kills with 291.

El Pasoan Megan Martinez has worked her way into the rotation as well. The freshman middle has amassed 147 kills and 97 blocks during her 37 matches.

“And we’ve got some good people back there defending this year,” Forchtner said, singling out liberos Karime Raygoza and Briana Bustillos, who battled all year for the position.

Las Vegas, NV freshman Raygoza is No.1 on the team stat list for digs with 374.

Bustillos, another New Mexico product from Chamberino, has 158 digs on the season.

German import and all-aroundplayer Kim Trauboth has 302 digs, 30 blocks, 44 aces and 231 kills.

Serbian sophomore Mirna Kovacevic has 562 set assists, 60 aces, and 161 digs.

“We’re just a really balanced team. When you’re good in every single spot, it’s hard to beat teams like that. I think that’s why we’ve been so successful this year. And we have depth on our bench. We haven’t really had that in year’s past. Two, three, four people have had to really carry the load. This year it’s spread evenly and we have people who can come in off the bench and do some really good things for us if somebody’s not playing well.”

Plus, as player Sanchez said, the team unity is palpable.

“I think the special thing we have about this team is we’re one,” the Roswell native said. “Nobody is divided, everybody is one. When it comes to stuff in the locker room, on the court, downstairs in the weight room, we’re always as one. Nobody gets left behind. Everybody’s always there to pick each other up and help each other out.”

Teammate Kovacevic agreed.

“We are a very athletic team, with a lot of different personalities come together,” she said. “It just works really well. It’s great to see us all come together and play. We’re just a good group.”

The Broncos have one other plus they can look to compared to past nationals.

The last tournaments were all in Cheyenne, Wyo., but this year, Hutchinson Community College hosts, at a venue NMMI knows well.

“We have played there every year except for one, I think, in my last 14 years,” Forchtner said. “We were already there in September and won some games out there. And that’s one of the things we talked to our kids about, too: ‘Hey, this is where the national tournament is going to be held and we’re going to see what it’s like and what the venue is like and how to play in this environment.’”

The Broncos head for Kansas Tuesday, practice and attend the tournament’s banquet on Wednesday, then open against Western Nebraska at 2 p.m. MST.

“I’m just really proud of our team,” Kovacevic said. “I really hope we can come together at nationals, control our side and beat the No. 4 team in the nation.”

Broncos advance to championship match

Karen Rivera-Herrera with a dig against WTC.

The NMMI volleyball team had a first-round bye at the Region V West Conference Tournament and having the extra time off benefited the Broncos.

NMMI defeated Western Texas College 25-19, 25-12 and 25-23 to advance to the championship game.

Coach Shelby Forchtner said, “Kim, Megan, and McKayla played really well for us, but everyone else struggled offensively. We still did a good job blocking and that allowed us to put some balls down of their side of the floor. “

The Broncos will take on the winner of Midland College/Odessa College at 3:00 PM CDT.