Jay Daubenberger

Liberal, Kansas – After spending the past two years as a member of the Seward County Lady Saints, sophomore middle hitter Clara Duarte has now found her new home for her final two years of her volleyball and academic career as she heads to the Tar Heel State to play for the Bobcats of Lees-McRae College.

After spending much of her freshman season as a key reserve for Seward County, Duarte stepped up in her sophomore year as one of the primary options for the Lady Saints. Through 30 matches she appeared in 104 sets while scoring 197 kills on the 2023 season for an average of 1.89 kills per set to go with 67 total blocks on the defensive side. She recorded a career best 16 kills in a 3-0 win over Victoria and reached that mark again in a five-set thriller with Garden City to lead Seward County to a 3-2 win.

Over her two years as a Lady Saint, Duarte helped lead Seward County to a Region VI Tournament Championship, a regular season title, and an appearance in the NJCAA National Tournament. Overall, she logged 309 kills through 165 sets played with 102 blocks at the net with 15 of them being solo.

She will join a Lees-McRae College volleyball program that is coming off a 15-11 season in 2023, improving by eight wins from the previous year. During this past season the Bobcats were able to take down many of their opponents in timely fashion with 3-0 sweeps in seven of their wins, including a 3-0 win over Converse in the second round of the Conference Carolinas Championships.

“Clara will definitely be missed. She was someone we could count on both on and off the floor” says Head Coach Aubrey Wilson. She really stepped into a leadership role this year and became a player that we needed. I am excited to see her grow on and off the floor in her future”.

“Seward County changed who I am, and I couldn’t be more grateful to every single one I got the chance to meet” says Duarte regarding her time at Seward County.

Duarte is the first Seward County sophomore to sign at the four-year level this season with three more Lady Saints ready to make the jump.