The Odessa College volleyball program has a long tradition of sending its players on to four-year universities.
On Thursday afternoon, three more players added their names to the list.
Bojana Bolozan, Halley McKnight and Nevena Pejovic each signed their letters of intent in the Wrangler Room at the Odessa College Sports Center.
Bolozan and McKnight are both headed to Division I Norfolk State in Virginia, while Pejovic is going to Division II Tusculum College in Tennessee.
Pejovic, a native of Danilovgrad, Montengro, played one year at Odessa College after she transferred from Northwest College in Wyoming. A big reason why she chose Tusculum is because its graduate assistant coach is from her home country.
“I’m very excited because this is my second year and I love it. I just hope I’ll have a great time next year,” Pejovic said. “(The) assistant coach is from my country, so I contacted her and she told me she’ll be very excited that I can come to school.”
The Lady Wranglers have sent 24 players to four-year programs in program history.
Bolozan, who is from Serbia, will miss Odessa and its hospitality. She’s excited to make her trip over to the east coast with her teammate, McKnight.
“I’m very excited. I love Odessa and being here,” Bolozan said. “I’m happy to continue my education and (to) play volleyball in Norfolk, and I’m happy to see some other places in America.
“It’s way greener back home then here. Everyone’s (helpful) here, everyone’s so friendly and I just loved it.”
Anna Rupertova, a former outside hitter for the Lady Wranglers, is now at Norfolk State. McKnight and Rupertova were roommates in Odessa. That played a major role in McKnight’s decision.
Attending Odessa College helped McKnight reinvigorate her passion for the game of volleyball.
“It actually showed me that I wanted to keep playing volleyball,” McKnight said. “I’ve always had a passion for volleyball, but I felt like it was kind of dying.
“Coming here and playing these past two years have really showed me that I’m really passionate and I really want to continue to play.”
The ability to consistently send players to the next level has been a true testament as to how successful the program has been over the last couple of years.
This past season, the Lady Wranglers finished 20-14 overall and 6-4 in Western Junior College Athletic Conference play. In 2016, Odessa College won 25 games and only lost once in WJCAC competition, claiming a regular-season conference championship.
“It’s awesome sending girls on to the next level,” Odessa College head coach Kristi Gray said. “You bring them in not knowing if they’re going to want to continue playing or not, and the fact that we’ve had that many go on is awesome.
“They get to continue their athletic and academic careers.”
Gray will miss the leadership and energy that this trio exemplified on the court as well as the impact they made.
“Halley and Bojana have been here two years, Nevena only one, but you couldn’t tell,” she said. “She came in just like family and she stepped into that role really well.
“Well, with Halley and Bojana playing a year together they came in with a great connection. Nevena had that playing experience at the college level already, so she’s just a very smart player. Honestly, she’s a hustler.”
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