Nixa volleyball

Nixa's Kenzie Hines and the Lady Eagles debut by hosting Bentonville, Ark., on Tuesday.

It says everything about Kenzie Hobbs’ ever-increasing passion for volleyball that it has replaced basketball as her favorite sport.

“When I was in junior high and when I was a freshman and even my sophomore year, I was kind of iffy about which sport I liked more,” the Nixa junior said. “After my sophomore season in basketball, I decided I like volleyball more and want to continue playing it at the collegiate level.

“The girls are great in both basketball and volleyball. I have great teammates all the way around. But I feel like volleyball comes more natural to me and is more fun to me.”

Nixa coach Annie Zimmerman has enjoyed seeing Hines develop into a college prospect in volleyball.

“She has gained a lot of confidence as far as volleyball is concerned,” Zimmerman. “She has had some great club experience which has pushed her to the next level. As a junior, she’s thinking of opportunities beyond high school. The possibility of playing beyond high school is something she’s working toward.”

Hobbs offers the Lady Eagles versatility. She earned All-Central Ozark Conference honors last season while shining at the net and the back row and collecting 198 kills and 126 digs.

This season, setting could be a big part of what she contributes.

Hobbs and Sydney Golden have emerged as Nixa’s best options at setter. Zimmerman said she will either decide on one of the two as her setter or have both set.

“We don’t have a lot of experience at setter,” Zimmerman said. “But both are very good players. I have a lot of confidence they’re going to do a great job. They’re both learning and work hard enough that whatever inexperience they might have at the beginning, they will be able to overcome.”

“Whichever one of us does the setting, or If we both do it, that’s great,” Hobbs said. “I’m in it for the team and whatever is best for the team. I think we have the potential to do something good.”

Hobbs has been mindful to see reps at outside hitter and setter in practices.

“I work with both groups, making sure I get touches on each side,” she said. “If I do set, I’m ready for it. In the off-season, I worked on setting.” 

There’s no doubting Hobbs’ worth ethic.

“Most of her time is spent in the gym,” Zimmerman said. 

One of Hobbs’ interests away from sports is learning foreign languages. With a nod to her professional aspirations, she’s taking Spanish IV this semester.

“I took Spanish I in eighth grade and have taken it all the way through high school. I hope to take Spanish V during my senior year and minor it in college,” Hobbs said. “I like being able to talk to more people. A couple students in my Spanish class are from Mexico. It’s fun to talk to them and pick up their accents. 

“Knowing Spanish could help me have more job opportunities. I might want to be a lawyer, so being bilingual and able to talk to more people would help me.”

Hobbs is also an avid reader.

“Usually, I read fiction,” she said. “But I like to get something out of it. I’ll stop reading halfway through if it’s not informing me about something about life in general. I like to stay informed.”

Reading into her future, Hobbs is undecided if she will return to basketball this winter or focus her efforts on volleyball and school work. She’ll play club volleyball ball for the Springfield Juniors.

“It will depend on how busy I am with club volleyball and my school work,” Hobbs said. “My school work comes first. So, it will depend on how my time management is.”

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