UNK senior volleyball players left with tough decision

NCAA Division II athletes have been granted another year of eligibility, but it puts seniors that were set to graduate in a tough spot
Published: Sep. 11, 2020 at 10:51 PM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - 2019 was a special year in Loper country.

University of Nebraska-Kearney made it to the National Championship match with a perfect record, before falling short.

With a strong nucleus returning in 2020....they had their eyes set on getting back

“Since the very last point of last season, my teammates and I have been in the gym and the weight room,” senior setter Maddie Squiers said. “We’ve been really hungry for this season, we know we have potential to get right back to where we were.”

But that won’t happen this year. In the beginning of August the NCAA announced that fall sports championships were cancelled at the Division II level.

A week later the MIAA followed suit with the rest of the conferences, by postponing the fall seasons all together.

mk wolfe - senior - outside hitter

“It’s still really hard because it’s your senior season and you want to just go all out and play,” senior outside hitter MK Wolfe said. “it was hard just kind of finding that motivation after that.”

There’s still a chance there will be some sort of a season in the spring, but with no championship.

Seniors are given the opportunity to come back for another year, but it’s just not that simple.

“There’s a lot that goes into making that decision,” Wolfe said. “We’re just trying to get in as much as we can now because you never know if this will continue for another year or what.”

“It’s very, very stressful. We’ve been talking a lot about it, it’s really stressful,” Squiers said. “At the end of the day I’m just glad that we get the opportunity and the chance to have another year.”

“Players have a lot to think about right now and I think they’re doing just that,” head coach Rick Squiers said.

With the amount of available scholarships, that creates even more problems.

“You know there’s scholarship ramifications that go along with that, that impact your 2021 recruiting,” Rick said. “We have three or four commits in the 2021 recruiting class already that are scholarship athletes, so all of those things just complicate the matter.”

Those players will be welcomed back if they do choose to return, and Coach Squiers expects some of the seniors to do just that.

Things are looking up for the Lopers through. Through all of this uncertainty they were finally able to start practicing as a full team again this week. Just that has meant everything to the players and coaches.

“Just now that we can have practice and we are together more, it helps a lot,” Maddie said.

“When you’re an athlete and you’ve put all of this time into it and you’ve trained your whole life for this kind of thing, I think there’s a part of you that really needs to be in here going through the process,” Rick said. “So that’s what we’re going to do, and when they tell us it’s time to play again we’re going to be ready.”

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