Annika Evans made the difficult phone call to the volleyball coaches at Colorado State to let them know she wouldn’t be coming there to play college volleyball.
The coaches at Nebraska had given her a similar opportunity, and that was too good for the senior-to-be at nearby Waverly High School to turn down.
Evans recently accepted an offer to join the Huskers as a walk-on for the 2020 season. She’d committed to Colorado State last November. But at Colorado State she would also begin her career as a walk-on, with a chance to earn a scholarship for her final two years.
“It was definitely a tough conversation,” Evans said. “I loved everything about Colorado State. It was nothing against them, it was just more of a dream here that I had to pursue, and it was really personal to be able to follow in my brother’s footsteps. I think they understood as well as they could.”
Evans’ brothers, Tyler and Erik, were each on the football team at Nebraska.
It was the after Evans attended a volleyball camp at Nebraska last week that Nebraska offered her a chance to join the program, and that was the first recruiting conversation she’d had with the Nebraska coaches. She accepted the offer the same day.
Nebraska has been put in a potentially bad spot in recent years by only having a few setters on the roster. Nebraska briefly only had one setter when Mari Kurkova left the team, and before Nicole Drewnick became eligible. Nebraska couldn’t play a spring match one year because the only eligible setter transferred.
As of now, Evans would be behind Nicklin Hames and Drewnick at the position when she joins the program. And Nebraska has another scholarship setter recruit coming in the 2021 class, Kennedi Orr from Minnesota.
But Nebraska probably looks at Evans as a player who could also play as a defensive specialist or serving sub.
Family, and the draw of the Husker program, factored in her decision.
“Since I could honestly understand volleyball, I’ve wanted to play at Nebraska, like every girl, I think,” Evans said. “And then watching my brothers fulfill their dreams, when this presented itself it was something I couldn’t turn down.”
Evans emerged as one of the top setters in the state this past season. She finished with 1,032 assists, helping set Waverly’s hitters en route to an appearance in the Class B state semifinals.
She plays club volleyball for Volleyball Club Nebraska, the club led by former Husker setter Maggie Griffin.
Right now the Huskers’ 2020 recruiting class will only have in-state players. The other player in the class is Kalynn Meyer from Superior.
There are new NCAA rules regarding volleyball recruiting, but Nebraska was able to contact Evans because she’s completed her sophomore season.