MEET THE MAVS

HOME AND HISTORY

By Kenedy Schaecher

MEET THE MAVS

This Kidwell-sponsored content series highlights the unique stories of UNO student-athletes that have built a special connection to our city and community.

MEET THE MAVS

This Kidwell-sponsored content series highlights the unique stories of UNO student-athletes that have built a special connection to our city and community.

This series is brought to you by United Dairy Industry of Michigan.

Ever since I was a little girl, volleyball has been my passion.

Sure, when I played YMCA volleyball at the age of eight and nine, I didn’t necessarily see myself being part of history one day and playing in front of 92,000 people, but one thing I knew for sure — I wanted volleyball to play a significant role in my life.

The older I got, I fell in love with every aspect of the game.

The competition.

The friendships.

Everything.

I initially committed to Northern Colorado, but as great as my coaches and teammates were, something was missing.

Family.

As I’m from the Omaha area, I just missed being around family, and it just felt like I was called to come back.

So, after one semester, I transferred ‘home’ to UNO.

Home is where the heart is

Returning to Omaha, I found comfort in the familiar.

The city embraced me, and it felt like a homecoming.

The sense of belonging and the feeling that I was where I was truly meant to be warmed my heart.

My family and I always had a strong passion for Nebraska sports.

Growing up, we went to a ton of Husker football and volleyball games.

And when I decided to come home and play for UNO, my family was ecstatic for me.

In general, I always had their unwavering support. With most of them residing in the area, I was blessed to have them alongside me every step of the way.

And last year, as I was going through one of the most challenging moments of my volleyball career, I needed their support — and the support of my coaches, trainers, and teammates — more than ever before.

It’s when I tore my ACL and meniscus.

An unexpected hurdle

I vividly remember the day it happened.

We were in the second week of preseason practice when I landed on my left leg and felt a jolt of pain shoot through my body.

As much as I tried to deny it, deep down, I knew something was terribly wrong.

And the initial assessment confirmed my worst fears.

Coping with the injury was not easy.

The dream of starting and achieving the playing time I had worked so hard for seemed to slip away.

But as time went on, I made a mental shift.

I realized that I couldn’t change what had happened, but I could control how I approached the recovery process.

With the help of our amazing physical therapist, the unwavering support of my coaches, and the encouragement of my teammates, I slowly but surely made progress.

They became my pillars of strength when I needed them most.

The day I finally returned to the court; it was a surreal moment.

Being a local athlete in Omaha, there were people who had kept tabs on my journey and sent me messages of support. To step back onto the court, have a great performance, and experience that type of encouragement and support — it was priceless and a moment I’ll never forget.

Sure, when I played YMCA volleyball at the age of eight and nine, I didn't necessarily see myself being part of history one day and playing in front of 92,000 people, but one thing I knew for sure — I wanted volleyball to play a significant role in my life.

Writing history

But one of my most cherished memories was the event that changed the landscape of college volleyball.

Actually, more like the event that changed the landscape of women’s sports.

Playing against the Huskers inside of Memorial Stadium, I mean, it’s difficult to find the right words.

92,000 people.

Seeing the stands fill up was just mindblowing.

It felt like a dream, a moment that didn’t seem real.

The passion and support this state has for volleyball is second to none.

I remember looking out at the fans, and for an instant, they seemed fake. Like, I kept pinching myself back into reality.

One of my favorite parts was the different media opportunities that we got to be a part of.

Videos, interviews, TikToks — it was so much fun.

It felt really special to receive that kind of attention and be a part of a monumental day in the history of sports.

I’ll hold onto the moments and memories from that day for the rest of my life.

I will always be able to reflect on the fact that we shattered records and expectations, and showed the world what Nebraska is all about.

Volleyball family

But for now, back to reality.

There is plenty of work left for us this season, and I can’t wait to finish strong.

It’s been an absolutely incredible ride already, packed with challenges and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

I still have some eligibility left and plan to pursue a Master’s degree here at UNO as well.

While I don’t exactly know what the future has in store for me at this point, I know that I’ll cherish my time here with the Mavericks for the rest of my life.