Jacks’ senior volleyball player Mackenzie Angner has had an emotional career in her time at SDSU.
“It has been a little up and down,” said Angner. “There have been great times and those were better due to some bad times. There’s no way I would change anything.”
In her time at SDSU, Angner had to deal with a teammate’s close friend dying and a criminal case involving another teammate, which was a distraction to the team.
In 2006, the team was without a league and had a meltdown at the end of the year.
Her time at SDSU was also filled with joy, as she was a part of SDSU’s record-breaking year in 2007. SDSU won the Summit League regular season and tournament and earned a berth in the NCAA Division I Tournament.
The biggest surprise for Angner may have come in this year’s offseason, as she found out she would be without some familiar faces.
Both of last year’s coaches headed to different teams, and two of her old teammates did not return. With would-be 2008 starters Emily Rooney and Ashley Adams leaving SDSU for Washington State along with former head coach Andrew Palileo, a new leader was needed. It was now Angner’s team.
This year, she became the 13th Jackrabbit to be named to the 1,000 kills club, in front of former SDSU assistant Phil McDaniel, who now coaches for Drake.
It was odd to see her former coach not coaching for SDSU, but Angner was still complimentary of him.
“It was great. I wish him the very best; I am sure he wishes the same,” said Angner in the Oct. 22 issue of The Collegian. “It was weird to see him on the other side of the court, but at least he was wearing blue, so I’m happy for that.”
With so many new players and coaches who have moved on to other schools, 2008 could have been a long season.
In the early going, it was, as the Jacks lost 12 in a row and were 1-12 in the first 13 matches.
The Jacks bounced back with a six-match winning streak in the middle of the season. The Jackrabbits and Angner had high hopes for the season during the winning streak.
“This is definitely a turning point in our season,” said Angner after beating Western Illinois on Oct 10. “We can definitely compete in the Summit League and definitely make it back to the conference championship.”
However, any hopes of the Jacks making the playoffs this year was gone by the waste-side with a 3-2 loss to IPFW at Frost Arena on Nov. 8. The night match was emotional, which mirrored Angner’s playing career.
The alumnus of St. Ursula Academy had tears of joy when she was honored before the match and tears of sadness immediately after the Jacks fell to the Mastodons.
Angner’s time at SDSU has been a pleasure for fellow senior Justine Olsen.
“She’s great for this team,” said the Council Bluffs, Iowa, native, who also calls her fellow senior mate her best friend.
The assumed first-team all-Summit League performer has led the team in kills (459), digs (335), digs per set (3.64), and she is second on the team with 21 serving assists.
She was named the Summit League Offensive Player of the Week back-to-back in October. On Nov. 11, Angner was named the Summit League’s Female Athlete of the Month for October.
Her skills this year went far beyond the court, as she was not only the emotional leader but a player-coach, too.
“She’s been great for me; she has taken me under her wing and has told me how much I mean to the team,” said freshman Ellyce Youngren.
“She’s such a great person; she will be really missed next year.”
New head coach Nana Allison-Brewer feels happy to have had such a player who has been willing to step up all year long.
“Ohio (Angner) has been an amazing player for us this year. She has really been great for me and the whole team,” she said.
The pre-dentistry major has not only impressed SDSU coaches and players, she has made an impression on other coaches and players.
“She is an amazing player,” said Steve Florio, IPFW’s associate head coach.
IPFW’s senior setter Jessica Dominiak played against Angner in high school and realizes what a great competitor she is.
“She plays with a passion that is really fun to play against,” said Dominiak. “She’s a winner, and you can tell she hates to lose.”