Southeast current players take on former Redhawks
It was a win-win for Southeast current volleyball players and former Redhawks after playing in their ninth annual alumnae volleyball game Saturday, April 6, at Houck Field House.
As a way to get former players involved, Southeast coach Julie Yankus holds a traditional alumnae volleyball game as a way for interaction instead of just playing an intrasquad match among current players.
“The first year, it was a struggle trying to get enough people to come back,” she said. “We built more of this tradition, more and more players want to come back.”
Yankus said the current Southeast players add a little push for recent alumnae to participate.
“It’s usually more recent alums who come to play, most of the players who played today graduated in 2013,” she said.
Yankus said the social aspect of alumni coming back, is catching up with what they are doing with their lives after volleyball. The coach to player aspect is out of the picture, whereas now they are in the friendship stage, she said.
“It’s funny, they still call me ‘Coach’ all the time,” she said. “That’s the fun part, the socialization with them.”
Colleen Yarber, 2013 alum and former outside hitter, said she had a great experience at Southeast and played with five of her former teammates in the alumnae game.
“It’s always nice coming back seeing my old coach, my old teammates,” she said. “A lot of them are some of my best friends.”
Yarber said her favorite SEMO volleyball memory beating Iowa State on its home court in a preseason tournament.
“We beat them in five, it was nice beating a Big Ten team,” Yarber said.
Yarber shared advice for the current SEMO volleyball team. “Have fun, play intense, don’t get too hard on yourself,” Yarber said. “It still is college and you still want to be able to have fun.”
Junior outside hitter Mikayla Kuhlmann said she was not intimidated by the alumni but excited to see returning teammates, old teammates and new teammates.
“It’s really just super fun, never intimidating,” she said. “Just fun to play with the alumnae.”
Kuhlmann said her favorite aspect of playing the alumnae is seeing the familiar faces and watching to see if the alums still have the talent.
“The alumnae that come back still know how to play very, very well,” she said.
Talking to the alumni after the game and discussing how they got through their collegiate career is something Kuhlmann said she looks forward to.
“It’s also about sharing the game that we love,” Kuhlmann said.