(MSUB Athletics release)
BILLINGS – Four volleyball players have signed national letters of intent for the 2018-19 academic year, including this year’s Northwest Athletic Conference most valuable player, announced by Montana State University Billings volleyball head coach Casey Williams on Tuesday. They include Joelle Mahowald, Hannah Hayden, Amya Rodriguez, and Hannah Hashbarger.
2019 MSUB Volleyball Recruiting Class
Player Position Hometown College/High School
– Joelle Mahowald Middle Blocker Nine Mile Falls, WA Spokane Falls C.C.
– Hannah Hayden Middle Blocker Lakewood, CO Lakewood High School
– Hannah Hashbarger Setter West Linn, OR West Linn High School
– Amya Rodriguez DS/Libero Red Lodge, MT Red Lodge High School
Nine Mile Falls, Washington
6-1 – Middle Blocker
Intended Major: Elementary Education
Mahowald is an accomplished college athlete that joins the Yellowjackets after two seasons at Spokane Falls Community College. Last season, Mahowald earned Northwest Athletic Conference Baden player of the year and most valuable player. She was also named most valuable player for the entire East Region. Spokane Falls Community College, known as the Sasquatch capped off a perfect 40-0 season by winning the Northwest Athletic Conference title in straight sets. In the championship against Highline, Mahowald was named tournament most valuable player and led the team with 14 kills and one error for a .591 hitting percentage. She leaves Spokane eighth in career hitting percentage at .250. In high school, Mahowald played middle blocker for Lakeside High School and was a three time letter winner and a four sport athlete.
Coach Williams on Mahowald: “Joelle is a tremendous addition to our roster. She is a decorated Junior college transfer that will be able to make an immediate impact here at MSUB. She has the ability to make herself available in transition and has great contact with the ball.”
Mahowald on choosing MSUB: “I chose MSUB for so many reasons, but to put it simply; I truly love volleyball so to have the chance to continue playing was an easy yes. The coaches were awesome. I love their styles of coaching and their personalities. I love the school and town atmosphere. I just felt like it would be a good fit for me for the next two years. I’m stoked to be a Yellowjacket!”
6-1 – Middle Blocker
Intended Major: Criminal Justice
Hanna Hayden joins the Yellowjackets after playing volleyball for Lakewood High School for four seasons. Hayden was named second team all-conference in 2017-18 and captain of the team in her senior season. Last season, Hayden was a top three blocker among Jefferson County public schools. She set a single game block record for her school with 12 block over three sets versus Dakota Ridge in fall of 2018.
Coach Williams on Hayden: “Hannah will bring us a lot of depth in the middle. She does a great job of closing blocks and will be another weapon offensively. She has a positive attitude and will bring a great mentality to our team.”
Hayden on choosing MSUB: “Everything just felt right at MSUB. I love the size of the school and all that Billings has to offer. I am looking forward to achieving my academic goals in the criminal justice field. I so appreciate the coaches’ energy and commitment to the volleyball program and I am exciting to be part of a team that has been improving each year. I can’t wait to be part of the Yellowjacket family.”
West Linn, Oregon
5-8 – Setter
Intended Major: Marketing
Hannah Hashbarger becomes the first setter to sign with the Yellowjackets for 2019. The West Linn, Oregon native won four letters in high school and was an all-league honorable mention. Hashbarger was team captain as a senior and won the distinction of most inspirational player. As a senior, she recorded 107 digs, 33 kills, 5 blocks, and led the team in assists with 642. Hashbarger is also an excellent student and was on the honor roll all four years at West Linn High School.
Coach Williams on Hashbarger: “Hannah has a great vision of the court and does a great job of reading defenses on the opposite side of the court. She has a competitive attitude and I am looking forward to working with her next season.”
Hashbarger on choosing MSUB: “I fell in love with MSUB from the moment I stepped on campus. It felt like home and I knew I would thrive in the academic and athletic environment. My incredible new teammates and coaches were also a huge part of my decision and I knew they would push me to be the best I can be. I can’t wait for the next four years in this beautiful city.”
Red Lodge, Montana
5-3, defensive specialist/libero
Intended Major: Business Management
Montana native Amya Rodriguez signed with the ‘Jackets for 2019 after starring as a three-sport athlete for Red Lodge High School. In volleyball, Rodriguez totaled 170 dig which was the most of anyone in the conference. Rodriguez averaged 5.2 digs per set and had a single game best 31 digs.
Coach Williams on Rodriguez: “Amya has been around the Yellowjacket volleyball family for the last couple of years. She was a standout on the Red Lodge volleyball state team and will be a scrappy defender for us next year.”
Rodriguez on choosing MSUB: One of the biggest reasons I chose MSUB was because of my positive interaction with Coach Williams and her team at summer and winter camps. I feel the MSUB Yellowjackets are a perfect match in regard to Coach Casey’s coaching style and that I will respond well to her training and expectations. Regarding my future teammates, I think my personality is a good fit to the team’s camaraderie, competitive drive and desire to play volleyball at the collegiate level is something we all have in common. MSUB also meets my plans for my academic goals and for acquiring a business degree in management.
The Montana State University Billings volleyball team has improved its’ win total in each of the previous four seasons. This fall, the Yellowjackets finished 13-17 overall, 7-13 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. The 2019 season is set to begin next August.