The very talented junior, Hannah Estes, began her volleyball career in the fifth grade. In her hometown of Woodlawn, Illinois, she and some friends seized an opportunity and decided to start playing volleyball. Her career took off from there. At the ages of twelve and thirteen, she coincidentally ended up playing club volleyball at Greenville University. After many years of playing, she decided to commit to Rend Lake College, which is located in Ina, Illinois. At Rend Lake College, Estes excelled.
Within her freshman and sophomore year combined, Estes played in fifty-five matches at Rend Lake. In her two years there, she had a total of 417.5 points, 371 kills, 447 digs, and 33 blocks. She had a hitting percentage of .074 her freshman year and a .165 H% her sophomore year.
These outstanding statistics from her two years at community college were accomplished under the coaching of Reggie Bateman. He became the head coach at Rend Lake College in 2018, Estes’ freshman year. Due to this coaching change, Estes’ first year was a rebuilding year because Bateman did not get to recruit any players, only the former coach did. Even with no new recruiting, the team managed to obtain the most wins in ten years, according to Estes. Although it was the most wins in ten years, the team still only won a few games. The Lady Warriors’ record in the 2018-2019 season was 7-30.
The following year, Estes’ sophomore season, the team was much more successful. Coach Bateman got to recruit new players, so the program gained a lot of new talented women. This roster helped the team to double their wins from the previous season. The Lady Warriors went 13-20 in the 2019-2020 season. Estes’ sophomore season was also eventful because she made her way onto the All-Region Team. She was the first player to do this at Rend Lake in about ten years.
“Hannah has played a lot of high-level volleyball. We are looking forward to watching her push our returners to a new level of competition in the gym.“
After Estes’ time at Rend Lake, Greenville University Head Coach Tom Ackerman was fortunate to have the opportunity to recruit this talented, all-region player. On a recruiting website, Estes stumbled across Greenville and remembered the great experiences she had at the GU club volleyball camps. After applying to the university, she received a text message from Coach Ackerman. “He texted me because he had my number from way back then, and he was like, ‘Did you just apply to us? You need to come for an overnight or a scrimmage,’” Estes said.
Estes did just that. She visited GU’s campus and attended a practice/scrimmage. She was able to play with the team and get to know the girls.
“I stumbled across Greenville, and I actually played club here when I was twelve and thirteen… I enjoyed playing here during club. The college girls coached us, and I really liked them, and I really liked Tom. He was a super sweet and super nice guy. I remembered that and saw that they were on the recruiting website… so I came [for a scrimmage] and it was nerve-racking, even coming in as a junior. It was nerve-racking playing with a whole new group of girls who had already been playing together, but they were actually really forgiving. A lot of the girls were really, really nice, and that’s what stuck with me. I was like, ‘If I want to go somewhere, I want to go somewhere that they’re nice in the beginning and not standoffish where I have to get to know them.”
After committing to play for the Lady Panthers, Estes began attending GU this fall semester. Unfortunately, she ended up getting quarantined during her first two weeks at school. Once out of quarantine, Estes was able to start attending in-class sessions and meeting other students. She explained that she enjoys how personable Greenville’s faculty and students are. She also enjoys how she gets to create relationships with athletes and non-athletes here at GU. This is a change from her community college because she really only had the chance to interact with athletes.
As the semester progresses and the season gets closer, Estes and her teammates continue to practice together. At the moment, the team is doing a lot of pod work, so Estes is a little worried that she won’t know how well she works with all of her teammates. With this being said, though, she is excited about the season and hopes that they will actually get to play in the spring.