One Maryville senior chose to finish her high school volleyball career while being committed to Kansas State University for basketball.
Serena Sundell, an outside hitter for the Spoofhounds’ volleyball team, grew up with a passion for not just basketball, but volleyball as well. She pursued collegiate careers in both as she headed into high school, but one sport prevailed over the other.
Sundell went into her last year of high school committed to Kansas State University for basketball after receiving 12 Division I offers.
“I have always loved volleyball and planned to finish all the way through my senior year,” Sundell said. “So when it came to playing my senior year, it was an easy decision.”
Traditionally, athletes that commit to a collegiate program hone in on that lone sport for their final year. In part, to give the bulk of their attention to enhancing skills for that sport. Along with that, to reduce the chance of facing injury in another sport.
Sundell said she did not feel any pressure to not finish out her volleyball career and that all her coaches and family were very supportive towards her.
“The coaches at K-State have always supported me in being a multi-sport athlete,” Sundell said. “They keep up on our schedule and encourage me during this season, so there has been no pressure there from my coaches nor my family.”
It didn’t shock her teammates that she came back to finish her senior season. The team is senior heavy this season and looks to make a run at a state championship.
“I was not surprised at all when she said she was coming back,” Maryville volleyball senior libero Klarysa Stolte said. “This will hopefully be a big year for us, and I don’t think she wanted to miss any of it.”
Between the two sports, Sundell expressed that she has learned a lot. Sports have taught her life lessons that have allowed her to build trust and friendships that will last a lifetime.
Sundell’s teammates have expressed she has been a leader on and off the court. She has a personality that influences a lot of what is going to go on when it’s time to play.
“She’s definitely an important person to have on the court and make our games overall more fun,” Stolte said. “Other than just her skills, she has a great attitude that directly influences how the rest of us play.”
Sundell had a big decision to make when she chose where she was going to attend college. Having 12 Division I offers for basketball and a few small offers for volleyball, she had to decide what would be the best fit for her.
She felt that, at the collegiate level, she could compete her best when it came to basketball and narrowed down to a few schools. She knew she wanted to play in the Big 12 because of the competition in the conference.
“I chose Kansas State because I developed a great relationship with the coaching staff and could already tell I would get along well with the girls,” Sundell said. “I love Manhattan because it is similar to Maryville in the fact that it’s a college town and K-State gets tremendous support from the community.”
With the season winding down in volleyball, Sundell said she hopes they can make a run in districts and perhaps farther. The Spoofhounds have put up a record 14-2 record on the season with two games left to play before the postseason.