Sophomore Kelly Ricketts, a 2007 Galesburg High School graduate, is in her first season as a member of the Prairie Fire volleyball team.
Last season, she attended the University of St. Francis, located in Joliet, Ill., and competed for the Lady Saints.
In her first tournament as a member of the Prairie Fire, she led the team in kills, 51, and finished third on the team in digs, 30, in the Illinois College Blue Brawl. For her efforts, she was named a member of the All-Tournament Team and named Prairie Fire Performer of the Week.
Ricketts has been a leader ever since she stepped on Tim Heimann Court, and leads the team in kills (150), kills per game (4.29), total attempts (380) and has nine service aces. Freshman Brittany Wisniewski leads the team with ten service aces.
Ricketts, whose brother Zack plays baseball and football for the Prairie Fire, is delighted to be back in Galesburg.
“I didn’t realize how unhappy I was last year until I got here,” she said. “I am so happy. The girls are great. Everyone wants to work hard. Everybody wants to win. So, it has definitely been a good experience.”
Each time Ricketts steps on a volleyball court, she executes.
“Kelly performs every time she steps on the court,” volleyball head coach Kim Schrader said. “Kelly is a great individual player and she makes everyone on the court better.”
Ricketts also sends hard, vicious spikes over the net while on a volleyball court.
“Kelly is a really strong hitter,” senior captain Karen Frost said.
Ricketts is so strong that one may think she is trying to hit the ball out of the gym when she spikes it.
However, that is not always the case.
“There are times when you have to be smart,” she said. “If there is a block there, then that opens a lot of the court and you kind of lay back and place it more. But, there are those times when you just try to kill the ball and hit it as hard as you can.”
Ricketts knows what to do with a volleyball and what she and her teammates need to do to be successful the rest of the season.
“I think the main thing that we need to work on is getting to the point where we expect ourselves, every time we walk out on the court, to win. We just have to believe in ourselves,” she said. “Walk out there every single time and want to be there, want to play hard, and give it everything we’ve got. Just have fun.”