Four-player class ushers in next phase for Lady Demon volleyball

NATCHITOCHES – Continued success lies in successful recruiting. Northwestern State volleyball plans to continue its success with the class of 2021.

Head coach Sean Kiracofe announced the additions of four prep players – setter Piper Boydstun, right side Kate Idrogo and outside hitters Perry Flannigan and Ashlyn Svoboda – Thursday.

“We knew there was going to be a transition into the next phase of our roster after last season,” Kiracofe said. “That escalated a little with how things happened with COVID. That being said, we really love how our freshmen this year in combination with this 2021 class really provide us the ability to keep building on our success.”

 

Boydstun is an all-district setter from Spring, Texas and Oak Ridge High School. She earned a first-team all-district selection following her junior season along with all-state honors from the Texas Sports Writer’s Association and Texas Association of Volleyball Coaches.

During her senior campaign this year she surpassed 1,000 career assists and earned a spot on the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Region team. She was also a member of the preseason AVCA All-American watch list.

“She’s an amazingly competitive volleyball player and a really smart setter,” Kiracofe said. “She’s already basically runs the offense that we want to run right now in club and high school, so it’ll be an easy transition for her. 

“What stands out to me is she’s a really good defensive setter which is not something that you always get. She can really solidify that back row and run the offense in a very smart and efficient way.”

Boydstun will have plenty of options on the attack with three dynamic, talented and powerful swings making their way to Natchitoches with her.

 

Idrogo, a three-sport letterwinner who also competed in soccer and track and field (long jump and 800m), is from Whitehouse High School in Whitehouse, Texas.

Along with her offensive prowess on both the outside and right side, Idrogo took home District 16-5A Defensive MVP as a junior while adding a second straight Academic All-District honor and an All-East Texas honorable mention.

She is a two-time first-team all-district selection in soccer and was named All-East Texas as a freshman. 

Idrogo was district champion in the 800 meters as a freshman and finished second in the long jump with a mark of 18-0.25. She qualified for regionals in the event that same year and areas as a sophomore.

“We really had a need for a right side with Darria (Williams) graduating,” Kiracofe said. “Kate is just an amazing athlete, who is also a lefty like Darria, and has great amount of overall competitiveness about her. 

“We think she has the ability to start right away in that position. She’s also played on the outside, even as a lefty, so she provides a lot of versatility to be able to have her as a six-rotation right side or mix her in with the outsides. Just really happy with what she provides us at the net and all around as a six-rotation player.”

 

Flannigan is a three-sport stand out from Fayetteville, Ark. and the 2020 Arkansas State Champion Fayetteville High School where she also competed in soccer and basketball.

“She’s a big strong outside that started out as a middle blocker,” Kiracofe said. “They only just moved her outside in the past couple years. She has a cannon for an arm and provides size at the net, athleticism and a great block on the pins, which isn’t something you always get from outsides.”

She tallied over 450 kills with a near .300 hitting percentage and over 100 blocks in her final two seasons on the court, helping her team to the state title this season and a 6A All-Conference selection.

Making stops at the net is in Flannigan’s blood as she averaged over 4.0 saves per game and above a 70 percent save rate in two seasons for the Lady Bulldog soccer team.

 

The final player in the trio of scorers is Ashlyn Svoboda, a highly touted outside hitter from Friendswood High School in Friendswood, Texas southeast of Houston.

She is a two-time Greater Houston Volleyball Coaches Association and Galveston County Player of the Year following her sophomore and junior seasons.

As a sophomore she earned Newcomer of the Year from the Houston Chronicle along with 22-5A District MVP honors.

Svoboda earned a spot on four different All-State teams after her junior season to go with 22-5A Offensive MVP honors and spots on both the state all-tournament and all-star teams.

Her awards list grew this week after picking up an AVCA All-Region honor for her senior season.

“Ashlyn really is just an amazing volleyball player and one of those glue kids for a program,” Kiracofe said. “There are times where she can take over a match and other times where she does things to make everything work. Those things that don’t necessarily always stand out, but teams are winning because of what she does. 

“She’s very similar as far as a volleyball player to one of our best ever Channing Burleson. She is a true six-rotation player that can help in every single aspect of the game. Whether it’s instantly as a starter or off the bench for anything that we need, we can put her anywhere and she can help us.”

This incoming class will be eligible to play in the 2021 fall season as the Lady Demons will take the court this spring because of the pandemic.

NSU begins its season with a pair of nonconference matches Jan 26-28 before starting Southland Conference play Feb. 4.

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