CHEYENNE – Kyle Meltzer calls her decision to spend two seasons playing volleyball for Laramie County Community College the best choice she has ever made.
Some of that’s because of a mix of on-court success, friendships and coursework. However, a lot of it has to do with former Golden Eagles coach Austin Albers.
“My two years here were amazing,” said Meltzer, who hails from Fort Collins, Colorado. “I’m so proud of what we built and accomplished as a family. Coming here was the best decision I ever made.”
Meltzer expects a similar environment at Colorado State-Pueblo. She signed a letter of intent to continue her career with Albers and the Thunderwolves starting this fall.
“I really like the school, and I know what (Albers) is trying to build down there,” said Meltzer, who is studying to be an intensive care nurse. “He is ‘Building it better’ again, which is what I was a part of here.
“I’m really looking forward to being part of that, being on a new team, but still being with some of my old teammates and being back with coach again.”
The 5-foot-2 libero recorded 837 digs and 66 service aces during her two seasons at LCCC. The 2018 campaign was her first as a starter. She posted 540 digs and 49 aces and was named second team All-Region IX.
Meltzer helped the Eagles reach the NJCAA tournament the past two seasons. They placed 10th in 2017 and took ninth this past fall.
Meltzer is the third LCCC standout to ink with CSU-Pueblo since Albers took the reins in December. Sophomore rightside hitter Payton Stack and freshman middle blocker Jazzy Espinoza also signed with the Thunderwolves.
It’s no accident that Albers is loading up on Eagles, Meltzer said.
“We know what he is about and what he is trying to do down there,” she said. “He also knows he can rely on us for our skills and leadership. He wants us to help him set the culture and help the rest of the team get on board with his vision.”
Setter Kasandra Sturges is the ninth player from this year’s Eagles to sign with a four-year school. The Aurora, Colorado, product inked with NCAA Division II North Carolina-Pembroke on Monday.
“It seemed like a good environment, and the coaches and girls were super nice and friendly,” Sturges said. “It seemed a lot like what we had here.”
Sturges played sparingly during her first season at LCCC, but was the starting setter this past season. She took over for Kyra Brandt, who was voted Region IX North’s top setter in 2017.
It was a daunting task at first, but Sturges eventually came into her own.
“It was tough basically sitting out my freshman year and then having to step in and follow in (Brandt’s) footsteps,” Sturges said. “At the beginning of the year, I felt like I had to be (Brandt). But, as the year went on, I realized I could be the player I am and still help the team get where it needs to go.”
Sturges was voted Region IX’s top setter, dishing out 1,003 assists to go with 266 digs.
Sturges will study business administration at UNC-Pembroke.