Maureen Wardian is already coming off a spectacular summer. Now, she's hoping to cap off the fall with a national championship.
Wardian, a senior middle blocker for the Bellevue University volleyball team, has helped lead the Bruins to a No. 15 ranking in NAIA entering October. She leads the team with a hitting percentage of well over .300. After advancing to the NAIA National Tournament her first three years, Wardian and the Bruins want more.
"Our goal is to win it all," Wardian said. "I think it's possible with the talent that we have on this team. It's going to take focus from us and we're going to have to play some really clean volleyball, but it's possible."
Her coach, Trish Siedlik, echoed those thoughts.
"This team has been growing every week with talent," Siedlik said. "We have so much depth on this team and it is game ready depth. You can have players that help in practice, but when it comes to a match, there are 'gamers.' We have a bunch of those."
Wardian certainly falls into that category.
"She has been known as one of the best in the country with her work ethic, her knowledge of the game, and her drive in the weight room," Siedlik said. "Mo is one of the players to stop on opponents scouting reports."
Wardian pointed to some rock-solid back row defense and a versatile offense as strengths of the Bruin squad. "We have a lot of guns," she said. "We can fire from any position on the court. We're always keeping the other team guessing."
The opportunity to play volleyball while earning her degree in graphic design helped lead Wardian to Bellevue University.
"I chose Bellevue because I found that they had the graphic design program which is what I wanted and they had a successful volleyball team," she said. "Bellevue was pretty much a perfect fit for me."
Bellevue University's unique blend of traditional and non-traditional students has added to her educational experience.
"When I'm in class, a lot of people that go to class with me are older than me," she explained. "They're in the business already. They bring that experience to the table. I can learn from them. That's real life experience. That's not just me reading out of a book."
Wardian utilized her graphic design skills during what she described as the "best summer of my life," working as an intern for the Omaha Storm Chasers, the AAA affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. Wardian produced flyers and signs for the Storm Chasers in addition to other duties as an intern.
"I was real good at cleaning tables," she said with a smile. "It was all part of it. It was all part of the experience. Sometimes you'd get to sit up in the press box and you'd get to see how all of that works. There's always something that made it fun. I made some really good friends and really good contacts."
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