It was a coup for Shelbyville when three Ram players of the 2015 4th place 2A State Team (37-3) signed the same day out of Shelbyville High School, Ryann Ambrose, Hannah Koonce, and Claudia Watson. Teammate and classmate Kelcie Darnell then joined them, giving the Lakers 4 Ram freshmen in 2016.

Kelcie Darnell continued to play for the Lakers in 2016, 2017, then went on to finish her career at Culver-Stockton.

Darnell was a middle hitter and was 4th on the Laker team in blocks as a freshman (31) with 69 kills, 239 attacks, and 95.0 points. As a sophomore, she shifted to covers digs, as 6th on the team (179 digs). She was also 6th in aces (8), tying her mark from 2016.

She in 10 of her 19 matches played, Darnell scored 5 to 7 kills per match. Her season-high was 7 kills against Southwestern Illinois. She added a block assists for 7.5 points.

Her season-high attack point total was also against Southwestern Illinois at the end of the season. She scored 11.5 points. She hit 6 kills, served 2 aces, and rose for 7 block assists.

Two times she had 8 points against Rend Lake with 5 kills, a solo block and two block assists and against Kankakee with 5 kills, a solo block, 2 block assists. She totaled 8.5 points another time against Kankakee at the start season with 5 kills, 2 solo blocks and 3 block assists.

As a sophomore, Darnell played the first 9 matches of her season as a middle hitter. She had 14 kills, 3 aces, 9 total blocks. She also had 9 digs, except against Moraine Valley when she scooped 12 digs.

She missed 8 of the next 9 matches. Then she came back as a defender.

She had 161 digs in 13 straight matches, scooping 12.4 digs per match. She had 8 of those 13 matches in double-digits. She had a season-high 25 digs against Rend Lake, followed by 21 digs against Olivet Nazarene JV. She 19 against Kaskaskia and 18 against Kankakee.

Darnell capped her Laker career being named to the 2017-2018 NJCAA 3rd Team Academic All-American. Her experience playing defense got her an invite to play as a junior at Culver-Stockton.

Darnell signed a national letter of intent to continue playing volleyball as a junior libero at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, MO. She played one year and capped her career.

Her season highlight was against Hannibal-LaGrange with a team 2nd 17 digs. Another highlight was against SAGU Texas with 11 digs.

Against Blackburn, and 2-time NJCAA National Runner-up hitter Kendall Knop from Stew-Stras (7 kills, 10 digs). In a 3-0 sweep of Blackburn, Darnell scooped 7 digs.

Against Bellevue she had a team 2nd 8 digs. Against Mount Mercy she scooped 6 digs. Against William Woods she scooped 5 digs.

2015 Shelbyville High

MH Kelcie Darnell K 11, Blk 2, Ace 47, Assist 2, Digs 128

2016 Lake Land

MH Kelcie Darnell: M 20, Sets 63, K 69, K/S 1.10, E 32, TA 213, Pct .174, A 5, SA 8, Dg 53, Blk 31 (BS 5, BA 26), Pts 95.0

2017 Lake Land

MH/D Kelcie Darnell: M 27, Sets 80, Kills 17, K/S .21, E 12, TA 84, Pct .060, Ast 14, A 8, Dg 179, Blk 12 (BS 5, BA 7), Pts 33.5

2018 Culver-Stockton

Libero Kelcie Darnell SP 36, MP 19, TA 8, Ast 3, Ast/S 0.08, Aces 11, Ace/S 0.31, RE 10, Dg 65, D/S 1.81

John Curtis can be reached at

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