Top-ranked Cobras eyeing another NCAA title run

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Parkland College hasn't lost a set yet this season through 12 matches

CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Through their first 12 matches of the season, Parkland College volleyball has not lost a single set. But if you ask head coach Cliff Hastings, they still have some room to grow.

“They’re doing a pretty good job, they just need to clean,” Hastings said. “For our frontline it was a lot of teaching, and now trying to clean as well.”

The Cobras (12-0) are looking for their ninth straight season with a top four finish, they’ll have to do it this year with a mostly new team. Parkland returns only one player with significant playing time on last year’s national runner-up team.

“A lot of us sophomore’s didn’t play last year at all, so we kind of just saw what the sophomore’s did and figured out their role,” Parkland outside hitter Brittney Litton said. “We’re pretty much a brand new team, so we just play how we play.”

The lack of experience hasn’t showed on paper in Parkland’s undefeated start. But Hastings says blocking and defense are some of the areas where they’ve gotten the best. The players have felt it too and they’re ready to make even more progress.

“Even from this beginning, we have a lot to improve on and we still have a month to do so I think it’s looking really good,” Parkland defensive specialist Izzy Classen said.

And to the man with the .900 career winning percentage, the bar for this group is still just as high as year’s past.

“I don’t care about winning or losing today,” Hastings said. “Our goals are about do I see us, with the eye test, are we ready for the National Championship match? We are not today, but we are far, far ahead of where we were even a month ago or even in the fall. So we are making that progress.”

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