Kills, digs, aces...hardly adjectives one normally associates with a group of academically-inclined campus leaders. But the Drury volleyball tradition emphasizes both-players are role models of athleticism and campus leaders in academics and community service. Academics and leadership are listed as team goals, along with excellence on the hardwood. So hitting the books or digging into volunteer work is as important as practicing kills and blocks. They play in NCAA Division II's Heartland Conference.
This year the team has a new head coach: Lawrence "L.A." Anderson. Anderson assisted coach Barbara Cowherd for four seasons; he moves up as Cowherd moves to a new assignment. After 20 years as Drury's volleyball coach, Cowherd was named assistant director of athletics while retaining her responsibilities as senior women's administrator and assistant professor of exercise and sport science. Cowherd left some large shoes for "L.A." to fill, including 484 career wins and a solid reputation for developing talented student-athletes.
Drury's volleyball team is consistently recognized for academic excellence by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). In 1999, the team's GPA of 3.53 ranked #1 among NCAA Division II schools. That year the team received its fifth consecutive AVCA All-Academic Team award.
The 2000 season had its highs and lows. The team finished with 18 matches won and 21 lost, but the wins included season sweeps of Southwest Baptist University, Texas Wesleyan, Pittsburg State and Central Arkansas. Drury scored season highs in the Heartland Conference with 13 aces in one match and 27.5 blocks in another. Seniors Christi McIntosh and Emily Watson were named to both the All-Heartland Conference Team and the All-Tournament Team. During the last match of the season, Watson set a new Drury record with 612 career blocks. In 1999 Jenni Burns was named as Co-Freshman of the Year in the Heartland Conference.