GRETNA – After watching Gretna junior Halie McArdle put down 27 kills against her team Tuesday night, Elkhorn South coach Briana Ritter wondered aloud if McArdle might be the best outside hitter in all of Nebraska.
She likely wouldn’t get much of an argument from the University of Wyoming coaching staff after they made the 5-foot-9 McArdle their first recruit for the Class of 2016. McArdle chose Wyoming after narrowing her selection down to the Cowgirls, Drake and the University of South Dakota. McArdle played this past club season for Nebraska Elite.
“I wasn’t expecting to go there and I didn’t really know what they had out there,” McArdle said of Wyoming. “But, once I got out there, I was just blown away.
“It felt like a smaller town and they get a lot of support from the town. The campus is beautiful.”
So far this season Wyoming is 11-3 overall and 0-1 in Mountain West Conference play. The Cowgirls started the year with a 3-0 sweep of Pac-12 Washington State.
Dani Root, who played at Waverly, is a freshman for Wyoming this year and is another former Nebraska Elite player. McArdle said she got a chance to talk with Root during a visit to campus and that helped her feel comfortable.
“It was kind of weird talking with someone that played at the same club and someone that I use to play against,” McArdle said. “She loves it there.”
As a sophomore last year, McArdle had 390 kills (4.43 per set) while adding 356 digs and 37 ace serves. She was a second-team All Class B selection by NPV last year and has a four-star rating as a player.
Aside from choosing where to go for college, McArdle also had to make the decision about what position she wanted to play. Several major Division I teams were interested in her as a back-row player, but didn’t see her as an attacker at 5-foot-9. Ultimately, though, McArdle said she decided playing at the net and finding the right academic fit was more important than going to a bigger-named school.
“I took a lot of time to think about that,” McArdle said. “There’s just a thrill that I get when I’m hitting. It’s something that’s important to me.”
McArdle said she plans to study medicine – perhaps in the neurology or pathology areas – at Wyoming. She also said she has been fortunate to have played with some great teammates over the years and to have been mentored by some outstanding coaches.
“I’ve had a lot of great coaches in club and high school,” McArdle said. “And, my dad has always helped me to develop a better understanding of the sport and improve my volleyball IQ.”