October 25, 2017

CARTERVILLE — John A. Logan College volleyball players aren’t just putting up big numbers on the court, they’re putting up big numbers in the classroom, too.

Finding a balance between sports and academics is always a difficult task for student athletes, but, as head volleyball coach Bill Burnside points out, his players are playing way above the net.

Burnside took time this week to praise the hard work of his sophomore players, players, he said, will be both missed on the court and in the classroom.

For instance, Burnside pointed to Brooke Hogard, a 5’8” middle hitter from Perryville, Mo. Hogard, while working on her associate of science degree — with hopes of becoming a physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner — has scored a perfect 4.0 grade point average during her time at Logan and made the President’s List.

That’s Hogard’s success in the classroom. On the court, Burnside explained, “Brooke has been an amazing player for us. She leads our team in blocks per game with 1.3, and, in fact, is ranked number 12 in the nation by the NJCAA. Although this is an amazing feat for someone her size, it is only one of the many ways Brooke contributes to our success.”

In addition, Burnside said, Hogard is “one of our top passers, is second on the team in digs per game at 3.24, and is also second in aces per game at .32. In practice or during game days, she consistently shows an energy level beyond what most players can produce.”

Carolyn Phoenix of Ava, a 5’6” libero, has also been incredible on and off the court. She is majoring in cyber security and has carried a 3.8 grade point average placing her either on the President’s or Vice President’s list each semester.

“As libero, Carolyn is a huge part of our defensive success,” Burnside said. “She leads our team in digs per game at 3.68, and is ranked number 37 nationally in total digs with 383.”

Ahnie Hoff of Perryville, Mo., is another success inside and outside the classroom. The 5’9” outside hitter is a science major and is focused on becoming a chemical engineer. With a 3.7 grade point average, “she is taking some of the hardest classes offered at the College,” Burnside noted. She has earned a spot on the President’s and Vice President’s list each semester.

“She leads our team in kills per game with 2.6 and she is ranked 41st by the NJCAA in total kills for the season,” Burnside said.

Burnside pointed to Emily Burkitt, a 5’7” outside hitter from Christopher. She is an associate in science major interested in marketing and carrying a 3.6 grade point average.

“She is an amazing athlete and currently holds the team record for vertical jump at 30 inches,” Burnside said. “She is a quick and active defender and averages 3.3 digs per game. She contributes in all statistical categories as a outside hitter should. She contributes to our success in many ways.”

Cheyenne Pitchford in another sophomore Burnside said he couldn’t be more proud of. She is a 5’11” middle hitter from Sesser. She is an associate of arts major who is interested in becoming a speech therapist. She currently has a 3.1 grade point average.

“Even as a freshmen, Cheyenne led our team in hitting percentage and was ranked in the top 10 in the nation in blocks per game,” Burnside said. “Her positive attitude provides an excellent example for all of her teammates.”

Burnside will honor his sophomores tonight as the John A. Logan College volleyball team battles for the conference championship during a match at home against Kaskaskia.

“College sports is not all fun and games, it is a grind,” Burnside explained. “It is difficult and not for the faint of heart. These girls have all showed a tremendous amount of toughness and resiliency over the course of the past two years. This is a trait that has served them well as athletes here at John A Logan, and it will continue to serve them well in the future.”

Said Burnside, “I feel fortunate to have had the privilege to coach these young ladies, and I look forward to seeing their future accomplishments on the court, in the classroom, and beyond.”