Idaho transfers Klaree Hobart and Haylee Mathis have provided a strong boost for the Vandal volleyball program after joining the program this winter.
Earlier this spring, the Vandals squared off against Washington State, the team Mathis redshirted with last season before transferring to Idaho in January.
Before joining the Cougars, Mathis was a two-time National Trial Conference MVP honoree and led St. Anthony High School to four NTC Championships.
The Strausburg, Illinois native said the transferring process has been comforting.
â€œEveryone on this team has been welcoming,â€ Mathis said. â€œThe coaches cater to each playerâ€™s gifts and talents. They know how to coach me a certain way thatâ€™ll benefit me so it was easy to come here.â€
Hobart, originally from Lewiston, said her transition has provided benefits at a personal level. She said she has adapted to a different playing style since joining the Vandals.
â€œIt has been a really smooth transition for me personally,â€ Hobart said. â€œAnd with there only being nine girls right now, itâ€™s easy to get one-on-one attention.â€
Hobart said she has made adjustments regarding her position.
â€œWe only have two defensive specialists and one setter,â€ she said. â€œWith the low numbers, itâ€™s easy for everybody to get leaps and bounce better. Especially that I used to be an outside hitter and now that Iâ€™m just playing defense, lifeâ€™s been great.â€
Hobart played for Blue Mountain Community College the past two seasons and led the team to back-to-back Northwest Athletic Conference Championships.
Hobart totaled 179 kills for the Timberwolves, averaging 2.59 per set. She was also a First Team East Region member and First Team All-American in 2014.
Mathis said playing as a setter for the Vandals has provided an initial challenge.
â€œSometimes as the only setter it gets overwhelming,â€ Mathis said. â€œI know thereâ€™s a setter that canâ€™t come in and help run the offense.â€
Mathis said despite a thin roster, the team has been able to grow individually.
â€œWeâ€™ve been doing really well with our small numbers we have,â€ Mathis said. â€œPeople have been improving a lot this spring and itâ€™s really exciting to watch.â€
Hobart said transferring to a different school has tested her mentality as an athlete, but that she is excited about her new team.
â€œMy mental game has been great. Iâ€™m happier and more positive,â€ Hobart said. â€œMy energy is ten times better because I donâ€™t like the negativity personally.â€
Mathis said transferring from Washington State has allowed her to find her love for the sport.
â€œI am more in love with volleyball than Iâ€™ve ever been in a long time,â€ Mathis said. â€œAt my previous university I was only a setter but potentially I could be a hitter. Weâ€™ll have to see how things turn out with how many hitters come in the offense and the new setter.â€
Hobart said the team is more approachable on learning from mistakes.
â€œIâ€™m just very relaxed here,â€ Hobart said. â€œI feel like my team is very laid back with how they are when we made mistakes. It has made me really calm towards my passing on the platform because Iâ€™m never uptight when I play.â€
In addition to the two transfers, the Vandals recruited five incoming freshmen to join the roster this fall.
Luis Torres can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @TheLTFiles