LINCOLN – If you’ve signed with a Division I school, most club volleyball teams would build their squad around you.
If you’ve signed with a Division I school and play for the Nebraska Juniors 181s, though, there is actually a chance you may not start. That’s the kind of talent coaches Gwen Egbert and Ann Romjue have to work with this year on the team that is the Nebraska Prep Volleyball preseason #1 team in the 18s division.
For a complete listing of the preseason club volleyball rankings in Nebraska, please click on the “club rankings” tab at the top of the page.
In total, the Nebraska Juniors 181s and 182s have a combined 11 – yes, you read that right, 11 – players heading to Division I colleges to play next year. According to the highly respected college volleyball recruiting website RichKern.com, that’s the largest amount of Division I players in a single age division within a single club in Nebraska history.
Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that the 11 athletes this year tie the Nebraska Juniors for the fifth most among all clubs in the nation, as of today. Northern Lights, based out of Minneapolis-St. Paul, leads the nation this year with 14 while the Austin (Texas) Juniors and Sports Performance, based out of the Chicago area, each have 13. Triangle Volleyball Club from Raleigh-Durham has 12 this year.
The Nebraska Juniors 181s have arguably the three best setters from Class A all on the same team. Sydney O’Shaughnessy, a UNO recruit from Omaha Marian, Kylee Wurster, a junior from Lincoln Southeast, and Wichita State recruit McKenzie Fyfe of Grand Island give the team unbelievable depth at the setter position. Fyfe also will spend time as a defensive specialist.
Libero Sydney Townsend, a Nebraska recruit from Lincoln Pius X, and Gretna defensive specialist Natalie Mickelson, a UNO recruit, will anchor the squad’s back row and help set-up a powerful arsenal of hitters.
Rounding out the 181s roster are Creighton recruits Marysa Wilkinson (Lincoln Southwest) and Toni Tupper (Lincoln Northeast), Nebraska recruit Olivia Boender (Waverly), Southern Illinois-Edwardsville recruit Ashley Witt (Lincoln Pius X), Furman recruit Kasey Hohlen (Norris) and junior Carley Remmers of Freeman.
There are also Division I players and All-Staters galore on the Nebraska Juniors 182s team, which is ranked #4 in the preseason 18s rankings.
Bradley recruit Taylor Thiele (Aurora) and UNO recruit Aftyn Johnson (Lincoln Southwest) and Doane College recruit Haley Bucknell (Lincoln East) highlight the team along with Bucknell’s Lincoln East teammates Caitlin Luedke and Madi Oxenhardt, Chase Wolinkski of Lincoln Northeast, Paige Huxoll of Palmyra and Lincoln North Star teammates LaVon Reckling and Aspen Green.
It will be more than a month, however, before either of the teams sees game action on the court as they both begin their season at the President’s Day Spectacular Feb. 15-17 in the Wisconsin Dells. The teams will compete just once in Omaha and once in Lincoln this season, otherwise all of their competitions are at regional or national tournaments.