From the moment Trish Kissiar-Knight laid eyes on Sara Kincaid, she knew she had found someone special for her Lady Grizzly volleyball team. She was right. The 6-5 middle attacker from Broken Arrow, Okla., had a tremendous love for the game and a driving competitive spirit that propelled the Southwest Missouri State University-West Plains (now Missouri State University-West Plains) Lady Grizzly volleyball team into the national spotlight.
“She is the player who got us into the national limelight,” Knight said of the tallest player ever to don a Lady Grizzly uniform. “She helped us take that next step that got us to the NJCAA national tournament on a regular basis.”
Kincaid, who led her Broken Arrow High School team to three consecutive final four appearances in the Oklahoma high school championships, used her tall, lanky and agile frame to guide the Lady Grizzlies to their first two Region 16 championships and first two appearances in the national tournament, where they finished eighth and seventh, respectively, in 1999 and 2000. “She helped us establish our name on a national level,” Knight said. “She’s the one who got us over that hump. That will be her legacy.”
There’s no doubt that from the moment Kincaid stepped on the court in 1999, she made a difference in the Lady Grizzly program. In just one year, she had eclipsed the team’s career blocking record of 250.5 blocks by nearly doubling that number with her expansive wingspan, and she jumped to fifth on the career kills list with 611 smashes. She finished her freshman year leading the team in eight of 14 statistical categories.
“She was the total package. She was a phenomenal blocker, she was a great passer, she could dig and she had great hands. She could have been a setter. She was just a great all-around player,” Knight said. “And, because of her height, she had a wicked serve. She could send that ball like a bullet at you.”
By the time she left the team in 2000, Kincaid was the team’s career leader in blocks (665.5), kills (1,106), attacking percentage (.436), attacking attempts (2,041), and service aces (112). She also had earned two first-team NJCAA All-American honors, a rarity, and was third in the nation in hitting efficiency and blocks per game.
Even today, Kincaid remains at or near the top among several of the career statistical categories. She’s first in solo blocks (323), first in total blocks (1,008), third in attacking percentage among middle attackers and all attackers (.436), fourth in kills (1,106), fifth in passing rating (2.45), fifth in attacking attempts (2,041) and seventh in service points (582).
Kincaid took those talents to the University of Arkansas where she led the Lady Razorbacks to a 27-6 record and a second-place finish in the Southeastern Conference her junior year and a 28-7 record and second-place SEC conference finish her senior year. She also helped her team earn a berth in the NCAA national tournament in 2003, where they picked up a first-round win over SMSU (now Missouri State University) before losing to the University of Kansas in the second round.
Kincaid was an SEC second-team selection her junior year and a first-team SEC selection and an American Volleyball Coaches Association honorable mention All-American selection her senior year. She was SEC Player of the week three times during her Lady Razorback career and SEC Defensive Player of the Week once. She also was among the top 10 blockers in the nation her junior year.
Kincaid left her mark on the Lady Razorback record books, as well. She ranks first in blocks per game (1.49), first in points per game (4.79), third in kills per game (3.64), third in hitting percentage (.341), seventh in solo blocks (70), ninth in total blocks (353), tenth in block assists (282) and eleventh in points earned (1,135.5).
Although her playing career is over, Kincaid is still a student at the University of Arkansas and is on track to receive her bachelor of arts in social work in summer 2006. She also is the head volleyball coach for the sophomore squad and assistant coach for junior varsity and varsity squads at Fayetteville High School, and she coaches the Ozark Juniors club team.
“I want to continue coaching, so I plan to get my master’s degree in education so I can teach and coach,” she said.
Kincaid said she is very honored to be named to the Grizzly Hall of Fame. “Growing up, you never think anything like this will happen to you. It’s a great honor to think people care that much about what you did to put you in a Hall of Fame,” she said. “I had the best time in West Plains. The people were great and so welcoming, and the coaches and my teammates made my time there really special.”