Wabash Valley —
Coming from a long line of volleyball players, including standout sisters Madison (Hayne) Minnick and Casey Hayne, it shouldn’t have been surprising that Terre Haute South grad Taylor Hayne made a big impact as a freshman this fall for the Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) College squad.
Hayne and the Blue Raiders finished 31-3 on the season, ending their best season ever with a 3-0 loss at Taylor in the NAIA Volleyball National Championship’s opening round.
Individually, Hayne led the team with six kills in that match and was honored by earning first-team all-Mid-South Conference honors in just her first collegiate season.
Lindsey Wilson Coach Andy Cavins wasn’t surprised at her success.
“I had very high expectations for Taylor coming into this season,” he said. “Coming from such strong high school [Terre Haute South], club [Circle City], and family volleyball backgrounds, she possessed all the skills to handle the increased pace and workload at the collegiate level.
“We were concerned originally because of an injury she incurred over the summer, but she worked really hard at her rehab and didn’t miss any time.”
Cavins considered Hayne as one of the most integral players on his team this year.
“She led our team in kills and also provided us with an extremely strong block as well,” Cavins said. “Taylor possesses strength and skill that makes her one of the best players in our conference and in the NAIA.
“She was first-team all-conference in the Mid-South Conference as a freshman, but — most importantly — she was ‘Player of the Week’ the week we won the conference tournament.”
That week, Hayne averaged 3.9 kills per set while hitting .250 in four Lindsey Wilson wins.
She tallied 55 kills during the week, including 17 in the title match against Georgetown. Hayne recorded three matches of double-digit kills during the week and amassed nine kills in a win over University of Rio Grande.
She added 11 digs and three solo and three assisted blocks to her totals.
For the season, Hayne ranked sixth in the conference averaging three kills per set. She ranks seventh in attacking percentage (.277) and eighth in kills (314) in the MSC.
With three years remaining, Cavins is counting on Hayne to continue to be a backbone of his budding program.
“I expect Taylor to continue to develop into one of the more dominant players in the country,” he said. “She is gifted with extraordinary natural strength and once she harnesses this strength she will be hard to stop. She has already developed facets to her game that did not previously exist such as back-row defense and off-speed offensive shots.
“By continuing to work on these areas, Taylor will assert herself as the class of the NAIA.”
• Coombs also competes nationally — West Vigo grad Jessica Coombs and the Wallace State (Ala.) Community College’s three-time defending state champion volleyball team concluded its season by losing its second match at the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I national championships in West Plains, Mo.
No. 13 seed Wallace State fell to 12th-seeded Mineral Area (Mo.) College 25-20, 16-25, 22-25, 23-25, finishing the season with a 42-5 record. The Lions lost a first-round match to No. 4 San Jacinto (Texas) College-Central in the opening round.
Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter and copy editor who now teaches at Northview High School in Brazil. He can be reached at