McRuffin shines for Southwest volleyball

Red Oak graduate honored by conference for second year in a row

Barbara Boxleitner
Daily Light correspondent
Kennedy McRuffin

Red Oak High School graduate Kennedy McRuffin has been recognized for her volleyball performance.

The University of the Southwest senior is on the all-Red River Athletic Conference honorable mention team for the second consecutive season. She received a certificate for the achievement.

"I am very satisfied," said the defensive specialist, last year's conference newcomer of the year. "I've gained so much confidence in myself and gained so much knowledge."

Last year she was a transfer to the program.  "She came in as one of the hardest workers. It wasn't easy. It made her work harder to prove herself," said Southwest head volleyball coach Cass Smith, an assistant coach last year for the squad. "I'm extremely proud of her."

Two-time captain McRuffin played 25 of 27 matches and finished second on the team in digs and digs per set. She had at least 10 digs in eight matches, leading the team with her season-high 18 in two separate matches.

"She's just a natural defensive athlete. She's very smart. She's always thinking past the play," the coach said. "She's very athletic. She makes really great plays out of nowhere."

McRuffin's 28 service aces were fourth among the Mustangs. She had a season-high six aces against Texas College to lead players from both squads.

She improved her serve by going back to the technique that worked for her.

"Last year my coach wanted me to have a jump float serve," she said. "This year she (new coach) allowed me to stay on the ground and find the range and the target."

She eliminated the service errors from the jump float serve, which she said caused her serves to sail out of bounds.

"I was more consistent. I was able to place. That came with a lot of practice and being able to control my arms," she said.

More women's volleyball

Audrey Nunes of Dallas Baptist University is on the Lone Star Conference all-freshman team. The Ovilla Christian School product played in all 79 sets and finished second on the team with 2.29 kills per set. The outside and right side hitter averaged 1.34 digs per set.

Women's soccer

Previously at Red Oak High, Makayla Rushing is on the all-Southwestern Athletic Conference first team. The Alabama A & M University forward tied for second in points in the conference, finishing with 10 goals and three assists. She led the conference with four game-winning scores.

Send updates about area athletes to Barbara Boxleitner at jdanddoc@gmail.com.