Atchison High School and Allen Community College Mattie Dougherty goes for a dig in match.

Mattie Dougherty left Atchison High School as one of the better volleyball players in recent program history, but felt some uncertainty heading into her first college season with Allen Community College.

“I wasn’t sure coming into the season how it would be or how I would be,” Dougherty said. “It was difficult coming to college ball and not getting to play the front row after high school and playing all six rotations all four years of my high school career.”

Dougherty said the first weeks were certainly a toll both physically and mentally.

“After the first couple weeks of practices my body was dead both mentally and physically,” Dougherty said. “Practicing twice a day for hours, traveling two to three times a week to away games that were all over an hour and a half away was very tiring. Nothing like a 20 minute drive away like high school games were.”

Despite the new and difficult challenges, the freshman was determined early on to earn meaningful playing time throughout the season.

I was so nervous at first about playing time,” Dougherty said. “I wanted a starting spot on the team so I worked really hard in our preseason to get that.”

Dougherty ended up being one of two players to have playing time in every match this season.

She also ended the season with 287 digs and helped the Red Devils earn their first winning season since 2013.

“Coming into this program I knew they hadn’t had a winning season in a long time so I was determined to change that,” Dougherty said. “The first few games were tough but my team and I worked harder than ever and ended up with the best record they’ve had in a while.”

Allen finished the season with a 19-13 record and even beat No. 12 Cloud County Community College late in the season.

Dougherty expressed excitement for the upcoming season and touched on some lofty individual and team goals for the fall.

“We have a core group returning along with a lot of new incoming freshmen,” Dougherty said. “A goal of mine for this upcoming season is to become the starting libero and hope to make the regional tournament this year as we fell short only one game last year.”

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