College notebook: C-SC turns to Heart product to guide volleyball program

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Dec. 18, 2019 1:20 am

Lauren Eldridge is no stranger to the Heart of America Athletic Conference, which turned out to be an advantage while chasing her first head coaching job.

Eldridge was named the next women's volleyball coach at Culver-Stockton College on Tuesday, making the Wildcats the third Heart program she will have served. Eldridge is a graduate of Missouri Valley College, where she was a three-time All-Heart selection, and she spent the last two years as a graduate assistant at William Penn University.

"Lauren's experience in the Heart of America Athletic Conference should be a great advantage to her," C-SC athletic director Pat Atwell said in a release. "She was an all-conference player on a team at Missouri Valley that made the NAIA national tournament, so she knows what a quality team looks like.

"Given this knowledge of the Heart, the fact that she grew up in the Kansas City area, and her leadership skills, Lauren should be an outstanding fit to lead our team."

Eldridge replaces Daniel Cabrera, who resigned in early November after two seasons at the helm. The Wildcats were 18-40 overall under Cabrera with a 5-31 conference record. They finished 10-19 last fall and were last in the Heart North Division with a 4-14 mark.

"We were very impressed with Lauren in her interview," Atwell said. "She has a clear vision for our women's volleyball program and the type of student-athletes who she wants to represent Culver-Stockton College."

Culver-Stockton College Athletic Director Pat Atwell has announced the hiring of Lauren Eldridge as the new head coach of the women's volleyball program.

Eldridge was a first-team All-Heart selection in 2013 at Missouri Valley and served as a captain for four season. She posted 1,155 kills and 125 service aces in her career. At William Penn, she helped the Statesmen compile 31 victories over the last two seasons, including 19 victories last fall.

Hildebrand comes up big in big game

Millikin University junior forward Jordan Hildebrand helped the Big Blue women's basketball team end a 14-game losing streak to Wheaton College, scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in a 66-63 victory over the No. 21 Thunder.

Hildebrand went 7 of 13 from the field and 4 of 4 from the line to go along with two assists. She was named the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Player of the Week last week for her efforts.

Hildebrand, the Unity product who was the 2017 Herald-Whig Player of the Year, is averaging 15 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 55 percent from the field.

QU's Hannoun with preseason plaudits

Quincy University sophomore libero Noam Hannoun was named to the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association preseason all-conference team. Hannoun was named to the MIVA all-freshman team last season, after earning NCAA statistical champion honors for digs per set.

The sophomore from Givaat, Israel started in all 96 sets in 2019. He led the nation in total digs with 277 and digs per set at 2.89. He also set a school record for digs in a single match with 24 last January against St. Xavier.

The MIVA also released its preseason coaches poll with Quincy tabbed to finish eighth in the eight-team league. Lewis was picked to defend its MIVA championship, receiving seven of the eight first-place votes and 63 points overall. Purdue Fort Wayne was second, receiving the only other first place vote and 52 points overall.

Purdue Fort Wayne outside hitter Pelegrin Vargas was named preseason Player of the Year.

The Hawks open the season against Mount Olive on January 10 in Pepsi Arena.