AURORA – The best-laid college plans of Allison Penner didn’t include the University of North Carolina-Greensboro until the very end. The end came last night, when the 5-foot-11 senior setter from Aurora gave UNC-Greensboro her verbal commitment.
The Spartans came on late in the recruiting process of Penner. Her visit to Greensboro came after making trips to Southeast Louisiana, Coastal Carolina, Dayton and Florida Gulf Coast.
“I was hesitant at first (to consider UNC-Greensboro) because I had everything all lined-up,” Penner said. “But once I got there, I knew it was the right fit. I got this feeling that it was perfect for me.”
Penner, who played this past club season for Nebraska Juniors 172, said her relationship with UNC-Greensboro started when they watched her play at the AAU National Championships in Orlando. First year Spartan coach Corey Carlin spoke with Penner’s Nebraska Juniors coach Pam Jarrett following the first couple days of competition.
“Coach Carlin started talking with Pam and said he really liked my hands, my athleticism, my decision making and that I kept the middles involved,” Penner said. “This is (the UNC-Greensboro coaching staff’s) first year and they are looking to build on the success the program has had. They want to win the conference and go to the (NCAA) tournament and I want to be a part of a program that can do something great.”
UNC-Greensboro went 17-13 overall last year and 10-6 in the Southern Conference. The Southern Conference also is where Furman University competes, which is the school that Penner’s fellow Nebraska Juniors clubmates Kasey (Class of 2014) and Kylie (Class of 2015) Hohlen will be playing.
Penner, who plans to study accounting, said she was attracted to the fact UNC-Greensboro has one of the top business programs in the country. She also said her ability to accomplish her dream of playing in college is directly connected to her family members as well as her volleyball family.
“My parents and family really helped me to get out all the emails, make the videos, and all that stuff,” Penner said. “Nebraska Juniors got me into a program where big schools will look at you. I really needed people to see me and Nebraska Juniors did that. Without that, I don’t know where I would be.”
Now that the recruiting process is over for Penner, she said she is looking forward to enjoying her senior season at Aurora and playing as well as possible this fall.
“I’ve always been wondering where I would be going (to college), and now that it’s all over, I feel like I will be more relaxed,” she said. “I’m not playing to try and impress anyone, I can just play to my full potential without worrying about who is watching.”