Angello wins national volleyball award
Little did Kansas City Kansas Community College freshman Lisa Angello know that being named the Kansas Jayhawk Volleyball Player of the Week wouldn’t be the highlight of her week.
Shortly before lining up against No. 1 nationally ranked Cowley County Wednesday night, Angello learned that she had also been named the National NJCAA Division II Player of the Week, the first Lady Blue Devil to win the national honor.
“I was really excited and really more proud of our team than me because we had played so well,” Angello remembered after learning about the Jayhawk honor.
Then came the news of the national award from KCKCC head coach Mary Bruno.
“I was so happy," Angello said. "It’s a big deal, and I was so excited but it happened just before our game so it was killing me I couldn’t call my mom and tell her.”
The announcement of the award came in a press release form the NJCAA.
"Angello used her all-around talent to lead the Blue Devils to a 4-1 record last week,” said the NJCAA. “Defensively, the freshman tallied 63 digs in the five matches including a season-high 16 in a three-set sweep of Allen County. Angello also scored 42 kills and had a double-double against Neosho County with 13 kills and 12 digs.”
“It says great things about our program,” said Bruno. “It’s nice to be recognized both for Lisa’s effort and the team’s effort.” KCKCC is 8-5 overall but four of the five losses have come at the hands of ranked teams — Parkland, Kirkwood, Johnson and Cowley counties.
The Blue Devils swept through the Highland Tournament the past weekend, defeating all four opponents including Jayhawk rivals Neosho County and Allen County, all by 3-0 scores, and then extended their winning streak to five in a row with a 3-0 win at Coffeyville before No. 1 ranked Cowley ended the streak with a hard-fought 32-30, 25-28, 23-25, 25-21 decision. “They’re No. 1 for a reason and we competed with them which says a lot for this team,” said Bruno.
That Angello should be successful at the college level should come as no surprise. She had nothing but success in her high school days at Lansing.
“We never lost a conference game and went to state all three years while I was on varsity,” Angello said.
She also played club volleyball for the Extreme, a team that was ranked No. 1 in the nation in the Open or highest division. “Six of the 10 players on that team went Division I, three went Division II," Angello said.
Recruited by several two- and four-year schools, Angello chose Pittsburg State.
“I chose it because it was a four-year school but I didn’t like it there,” said Angello, who was a redshirt freshman. “It was just too far away. I’d come home every weekend so I transferred to KCKCC the second semester.”
It’s obviously worked out well. She’s able to live at home just 20 minutes from the campus and her parents, Scott and Shelly Angello, and her two sisters get to see her at all home games. “My dad says he’s never seen me play so happy, which I am,” she says.
At 5-foot-8, Angello plays bigger than her size as an outside hitter.
“This is the first year I’ve played outside," she said. "I’ve played the middle my whole life but I’m too small to play the middle or the outside. I’m tiny in the volleyball world, the smallest hitter on our team. But I’m real competitive. I feel our whole team is like that. It goes hard all the time.”
In her second year out of high school, Angello is something of a veteran on a young Blue Devil team that returned only two starters from last season.
“We’ve only been playing together barely a month and already we’re competing with the No. 1 team in the nation, which says a lot,” she says. “It’s unfortunate that we had to play some of the best teams right at the start. We still have a lot to learn and there’s so much room for improvement. Our goal is to be ready Nov. 5 (playoff time).”
Volleyball is a way of life in the Angello family. “My mom and dad were on a competitive co-ed team while they were dating; my sister, Lori, is a senior and is going to play at Johnson County next year; and my youngest sister, Lacey, is in sixth grade and her 12 and under team finished second in the nationals,” says Angello.
An education major, Angello plans on a career in teaching at either the elementary or early childhood level. While she’s a sophomore academically, she has two years of eligibility at KCKCC and plans to play both of them.
“Mary (Bruno) wouldn’t let me go anywhere else; I’ve known her since I was 15," Angello said. "She was an assistant on three of my club teams and now she’s my head coach here at KCKCC.”
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