Women’s volleyball celebrates three seniors

Jannae Mehaffey

With contributions from Nick Gainey
The Augustana women’s volleyball team celebrated the end of its delayed season with senior night on April 22. The team honored three seniors: Jessica Nguyen, Taylor Curley and Laura Heuermann. The Vikings fell to visiting Cornell in three sets, 25-18, 25-22, and 25-21.
Despite the loss, the seniors looked back fondly on their careers, even though their final season was less than ideal.
“It was definitely bittersweet,” Nguyen said. “I think what I wanted to get out of senior night’s game was just to have fun with my teammates and celebrate each other’s successes on the court one last time.”
The team finished with a 4-9 record, but there were many bright spots. The Vikings picked up two conference wins against Carroll and Wheaton. Augustana went 2-2 at an early April tournament in Indianapolis, Indiana, with wins against Covenant and Dubuque. The squad also had the opportunity to scrimmage Upper Iowa, a Division II school.
The COVID-altered season wasn’t all bad. The seniors made the most of it and didn’t take even the little things for granted.
“My favorite memory of the COVID season was getting to go on one more overnight trip with the team. It felt somewhat normal for the first time all year,” Heurermann said.
Nguyen also enjoyed the Indianapolis trip.
“We got to eat lots of food and spend lots of time with each other,” Nguyen said. “I felt like we really came together and played as a team and it was really cool to see us working as a unit.”
Even though the COVID-shortened season didn’t provide the same experience, the players had past memories to reminisce about.
“My favorite part of my volleyball experience was going to Brazil last year, and also just getting the opportunity to play with such talented and hard working players,” Nguyen said. “It’s cool to be a part of a program that has teammates who motivate you to do your best and truly want to see you succeed.”
The seniors leave behind a young, hungry team, and they have plenty of advice to give the underclassmen.
“My advice to current players is to stick with it,” Heurermann said. “The good days always find a way to outweigh the bad. Pay attention to the little moments because that’s what you’ll miss the most. Don’t wish it away because it goes by way too fast.”
Nguyen also encouraged the returning players to cherish the tough times.
“Some advice I would give to the underclassmen is to play with your heart every day as if it’s the last time you’re going on the court,” Nguyen said. “COVID showed us that you really are only guaranteed today. Appreciate all the 6AM conditioning, tough losses and amazing wins because it really does help you grow as a team and as a person.”