Marshalltown Community College volleyball coach Chris Brees wants to see fans in the stands at the Student Activity Center.
He knows that will come with winning but also knows that finding good local talent and keeping them close to home helps, too.
Brees moved a step closer to a full gym Thursday when he locked up a scholarship signature from Marshalltown senior Miranda Smith.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
Marshalltown High School senior Miranda Smith, front row center, signed a scholarship to play volleyball at Marshalltown Community College on Thursday. Joining her at the signing were (front row from left) mother Doreen and father Darren Smith and (back row from left) MHS coach Terri Westendorf and MCC coach Chris Brees.
"We want to get the best local kids," Brees said. "I really want to see fans in the stands and this will help. Miranda will bring us some size and her quick arm swing will help speed up our offense."
Smith said she wanted to attend MCC anyway but was even more excited when she found out she could extend her volleyball career with the Tigers.
"I wanted to stay close to home anyway," Smith said. "I will bring energy and intensity to the roster and hopefully we can get some more wins next year."
Smith finished with 235 kills, which was third on the team this past season, and 76 digs. She led the Bobcats with 68 blocks and 39 aces.
"She kind of flew under the radar for us this year, but she used that to her advantage," MHS coach Terri Westendorf said. "I think Miranda can fit in anywhere. She has very good skills and is a very strong leader."
With so few players returning to MCC next season in Brees' second year with the program, the Tiger coach expects Smith to play right away. Brees said it will depend on how much she works over the summer, but he expects an early contribution from one of his local athletes.
"My goal is for her to contribute right away," Brees said. "She will make an immediate impact. She is a quiet player, but she gets the job done. She's a great team player, too."
Smith is excited that her parents - Darren and Doreen - and both sets of grandparents will be able to see all of her home matches. Westendorf also said she likes to follow her former players and it will be easy to follow Smith with her playing her home games right down the road.
"We have a great connection," Westendorf said. "She's a great role model for our high school program. She's the total package. It'll be fun to follow her."
The "underdog" tag she played with at Marshalltown was evident in the recruiting game as Smith said MCC was the only school that really recruited her. That was OK by her though as she wanted to attend the school all along.
"I hope MCC can take the next step, and I hope Miranda can be one of the players that helps them do that," Westendorf said. "I think she can fit in anywhere, and I think her and Coach Brees will be going in the same direction. That is where she wants to be."
Smith expects the college game to be a bit of a change from the high school level. She looks for the speed to be much quicker and she knows the practices will be more intense.
"I think I will bring the intensity every day, and my strength will be with blocking," said Smith, who saw a few matches at the Student Activity Center this past season.
Westendorf agrees that the speed of the game will be challenging and different but also believes the defensive block will be better.
"That won't scare her though," Westendorf said. "She won't back down from it."
Brees said he first noticed Smith while attending a few Marshalltown practices.
"When you can hide in the rafters and not tell anyone who you are looking at it is easier to see what players are like during practice," Brees said. "Miranda gets something out of every drill. That is what drew me to her."
Smith will study nursing while at MCC. She joins Tiger returners Katelyn Yauslin, Ashley Salgado and Alyssa Whitmore on the roster.