Justin Pastoor – Sports Editor
“Volleyball is played on 900 square feet on your side of the net. Kayla’s job is to move our six individuals in an organized fashion to land the ball on the other side.” – Chad Hanson, Head Coach, volleyball.
Senior setter Kayla Bartman came to Dordt after a successful career at Western Christian in Hull, Iowa and since then has been an iatrical part of the Defender program from day one, before Coach Hanson was even hired on as head coach.
“I knew she was good, but I didn’t fully know and understand her athleticism, leadership, and pure talent until preseason,” said Hanson. “Now for three years, going into her fourth, she’s led our offense in her position as a setter.
“She understands her strengths and abilities of her teammates and knows how and when to utilize each one of those.”
For Kayla, volleyball came to her naturally from a young age. Her mother coached her through a portion of her grade school career and once high school hit, things began to take off.
“Volleyball probably wasn’t my number one sport early on, but it was my best sport so it was the one that I really pressed on with. Going to Western influenced it tremendously. The school made it fun through competitive nature and support from the school along with the success we had,” said Bartman.
In her first three years at Dordt, Bartman has twice been named First Team All-GPAC, twice been named an All-American (honorable mention, and third team), twice been named to the AVCA all-regional team, a Daktronics-NAIA Scholar Athlete and a CoSIDA All-District Academic All-American honoree, a trend that began in high school with multiple All-State selections and a player of the year selection.
Each year she has increased her assist total and average per game. In 2011, while splitting time with former teammate, now coach and sister-in-law Jessica Gesink, averaged 4.42 assists per game. This increased to 9.26 per game in 2012 and then to 10.5 assists per game in 2013 for her junior season. An assist directly leads to a point for the team; a constant increase in assists and points has also been matched with a better record each year Bartman has been a member of the team.
“Since I’ve been here I’ve grown in so many ways,” said Bartman. “Coach Hanson is the most skill oriented coach I’ve ever had. He broke down all my skill sets and rebuilt them back up. He’s involved so much in developing everyone into leaders and young women.”
She preceded that statement with a smile and a hand to her forehead. “He’s going to relish the fact that I’m saying this.”
Whether it was under Coach Hanson, or Coach Vanden Bosch, her recruiter, she always knew she was going to be playing at Dordt.
“It’s always been a family school. My parents went here, my grandpa was the athletic director, and once I moved to Sioux Center, I went to every Dordt game and camp. I just learned to love it.”
Now in her senior year, Kayla is on pace with her junior year, statistically speaking, and is looking to boost those numbers while helping her team achieve its ultimate goal.
“Each year our goal is to make it to the national tournament and make a run as deep as we can. When Kayla plays at her best, she gives us that opportunity,” said Hanson.