LINCOLN – For most of her senior season, Lincoln Christian outside hitter Hannah Olsen planned on being a Loper in college at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. That changed recently when she was offered a chance to play for the Lopes of Grand Canyon University.
Olsen de-committed from Kearney, which finished the 2013 season ranked #8 in NCAA Division II, to join Phoenix-based Grand Canyon, which went 12-19 in 2013 – it’s first season as a Division I school and member of the Western Athletic Conference. Olsen said UNK coach Rick Squiers was very cordial about her decision, wishing her well and being happy that she was still an “Antelope.”
Olsen said the decision to switch wasn’t easy, but, the chance to study sports management in a town filled with sports teams like Phoenix, as well as the opportunity to spread her wings further from home, was appealing.
Grand Canyon has the Colangelo School of Sports Business – named for benefactor Jerry Colangelo, one of the most influential sports businessmen to work with the NBA, MLB, NHL, WNBA and USA Men’s Basketball Team.
“It’s like an adventure, knowing that I’m going far away for college and to play volleyball,” Olsen said. “It’s really exciting. Plus, there’s the Arizona weather.”
Olsen said she visited Grand Canyon with some friends and fell in love with it. When she began to explore whether or not playing volleyball there would be an option, the coaches told her they wouldn’t actively recruit her unless she de-committed from Kearney. She made the leap of faith to de-commit and re-open her recruiting process and Grand Canyon liked what it saw in her enough to offer her the chance to play at the Division I level.
“I’m ready for that challenge,” Olsen said. “It’s really exciting.”
Olsen said she anticipates being used primarily as a back-row player, but she has proven to be an elite attacker thanks to her leaping ability, despite being just 5-foot-7. That versatility, she said, helped seal the deal for Grand Canyon.
Another big reason for Olsen making the change is the fact that she has grown to appreciate being part of a Christian-centered school. Olsen transferred to Lincoln Christian for her senior year and wanted to continue that education style in college.
Olsen also was a youth standout in soccer, but gave that up in pursuit of a volleyball career. She is playing this club season for Nebraska Redline out of Lincoln, but she spent the three previous club seasons playing for Nebraska Elite – making constant trips to Omaha for practices.
“Volleyball become a love in my life after always traveling with my older sister watching her play club volleyball,” Olsen said.
She was also quick to credit many of her coaches over the years in helping her develop. Coaches such as Charlene Johnson-Tagaloa, Dan Meske, Bryce Hickerson, Annika Webb, Korrine Schuster, Nikki Bales, Steve Bymers, Andrew Wherli and Tony Carrow as well as Norris coach Christina Boesiger, whom Olsen played for prior to transferring to Lincoln Christian and Vikki Power, her coach at Lincoln Christian.
“Vikki Power (taught me) how to take the sport you love and honor God with the gifts He has given you to play,” Olsen said. “I’m truly blessed to be able to play the sport I love. I’m excited for what my future at Grand Canyon University holds.”
Here is the Parade of Champions for the weekend of April 12-13. If your team takes first place in a round-robin tournament or the “gold” division of the tournament – send us your team pictures from the tournament to NebraskaPrepVolleyball@gmail.com or send it out via Twitter and include @NebHSvolleyball in your tweet.
VCNebraska 14 Black – Northern Plains Power League 14 Open
River City Juniors 161 – Northern Plains Power League 16 Open
Nebraska Juniors 181 – Northern Plains Power League 18 Open
Nebraska Elite 15 Velocity – Elite Sports & Fitness Classic 15 Silver
Nebraska Elite 17 Nova – Elite Sports & Fitness Classic 17 Silver
Hastings Tigers 122 – Kearney Hardcourt Volleyfest 12 Silver I
GI Islanders 12 Black – Kearney Hardcourt Volleyfest 12 Silver II
Hershey Panthers 13s – Kearney Hardcourt Volleyfest 13 Silver
KVC Crush 131 – Kearney Hardcourt Volleyfest 14 Silver I
GI Islanders 14 Purple – Kearney Hardcourt Volleyfest 14 Silver II
Nebraska X 15′s Black – Kearney Hardcourt Volleyfest 15 Silver
NE West 162 – Kearney Hardcourt Volleyfest 16 Silver
Star Legacy 171 – Kearney Hardcourt Volleyfest 17 Silver
NE West 17 – Kearney Hardcourt Volleyfest 18 Silver
South Central NE 16 Black – Midwest Qualifier Warmup 16 Gold
Nebraska ONE 16 Charge – The Oasis April Show-Me 17 Gold
Premier 18 Gold – The Oasis April Show-Me 18 Gold
MVP 14 Marty Stealth – The Oasis April Show-Me 15 Gold
Nebraska ONE 11 Rampage – Nebraska Wesleyan Springfest 12 Silver
Nebraska Elite 13 Danger Zone – Nebraska Wesleyan Springfest 13 Silver
Stanton Juniors 14 Panther – Nebraska Wesleyan Springfest 14 Silver
High Flyers 151 – Nebraska Wesleyan Springfest 15 Silver
Saints 17s – Nebraska Wesleyan Springfest 17 Silver
West Point BlueJays 151 – Pinnacle Juniors Dig Pink 15 Silver
Stangz Elite 17s – Pinnacle Juniors Dig Pink 17 Silver
Superior Juniors 18s – Super Spring Fling 17-18 Silver
Nebraska Impact 141 Banzai – Midwest Qualifier Warmup 14 Gold
Tri-State Crusaders 121 – Elite Sports & Fitness Classic 12 Silver
Premier 13 Red – Elite Sports & Fitness Classic 13 Silver
Freeman Juniors 14s – Elite Sports & Fitness Classic 14 Silver
Club Legacy 12 Rox – The Oasis April Show-Me 12 Gold
Nebraska Elite 13 Thunder – The Oasis April Show-Me 13 Gold