By RICK PETERSON
After putting together an outstanding four-year volleyball career for Cair Paravel Latin, Taryn Pridgett has had to wait her turn to make her mark for Washburn University.
After having her freshman season at WU wiped out by COVID-19, the 5-foot-8 junior outside hitter saw only spot duty the past two seasons, seeing action in a combined total of 26 matches and 43 sets while compiling 41 kills and six total blocks.
But Pridgett's time has finally come for Chris Herron's Ichabods this fall and she's making the most of it.
Pridgett has already set a career-high with 19 matches and 51 sets played this season and her 89 kills and 25 blocks have more than doubled her totals for the previous two seasons combined heading into Saturday's regular-season finale at Newman.
"It's really exciting to see the growth personally, just being in practice and getting reps in,'' Pridgett said after Monday's 3-1 home MIAA win over Emporia State. "It's always fun to see the work have a high result. It's fun.
"I love being out there and I love building trust with my teammates. I think that's been the most important thing is just slowly building trust through practice and in games.''
Even though Pridgett spent a lot of time earlier in her Washburn career on the sidelines cheering for her teammates, she said she never got frustrated.
"Not really, because I love my team, I love my girls,'' Pridgett said. "We go through so much together, so it's easy to cheer for everyone no matter when I am on the court.''
Pridgett has been at her best over Washburn's past three matches, with a pair of starts, as the Ichabods won two of three MIAA tilts to improve to 16-10 overall and 10-9 in the conference.
Pridgett recorded a career-high 13 kills and had two blocks in WU's five-set loss to Central Oklahoma last Friday and had eight kills and two blocks in a 3-1 win over Pittsburg State on Saturday and tied her career-high with 13 kills in Monday's win over Emporia State while also registering three total blocks.
Pridgett hit a sizzling .435 on attacks against the Hornets.
"She was awesome (Monday),'' Herron said. "I'm really happy for her, and what a great kid.''
Pridgett said she continues to get more and more comfortable as she gains more experience with the Ichabods, who are looking to put together a strong postseason run after winning the MIAA championship a year ago.
"Absolutely,'' Pridgett said. "I think that just comes with playing, just being out there and feeling it out, especially with the girls we have. It's been nice.''