Alumna Melissa (Brockleman) Holle ’10 played basketball during her time at Newman University but has found success as a high school coach in another sport. Her Hanover High School team took home the Kansas 1A DII state volleyball title this year.
Holle said basketball was something she had passion for and enjoyed playing for three seasons at Newman.
“Basketball has always been my favorite sport to play,” she said. “This is the biggest reason I chose to pursue it in college. I feel I was a more well-rounded basketball player.
“(But) volleyball is by far my favorite to coach. To me, I feel you have to be more strategic in this sport. I love the challenge of putting players in the right spot and pushing them to be better.”
Her high school team had 21 girls on its roster this year, all quite young.
“This made many of my young girls have to really step up and mature quickly,” she said.
Holle knew despite their age, the players would bring plenty of talent to have a shot at the state title. They, along with Holle, were eager to have a great season after their last season was cut short due to COVID-19.
“My expectations at the beginning of the year were very high. I knew the talent level coming in with this team, and I knew the disappointment the girls felt the year before and how quickly our season ended. I pushed the girls very hard and they all responded well.”
She felt her high expectations pushed her players to perform at the best of their ability.
“There were times we mentally defeated ourselves, but once we overcame this, the girls really excelled,” she said.
Hanover’s season came to a celebratory end Oct. 31 when they won the championship match in straight sets.
The team claimed the first state title for the Hanover volleyball program since 1979. Holle said she and her team are setting their sights on another state title next year.
Aside from coaching, Holle teaches fourth, fifth and sixth grade at Hanover Public Schools.
Holle graduated from Newman with a Bachelor of Science in elementary education. She went on to receive her master’s in elementary reading and math from Walden University in 2019.
“I pretty much stuck to academics and basketball during my time at Newman. I did not have much time for anything else. I absolutely loved my education teachers at Newman. They made it clear to me why I wanted to be a teacher,” she said.
Holle’s favorite part of teaching is spending time with her students: “They make the worst days doable and the best days even more amazing.”