CEDAR RAPIDS — When Mary Kay Van Oort grew to become the primary head males’s volleyball coach at Mount Mercy College 5 years in the past, many individuals assumed she would merely take prep basketball gamers and convert them.
The one downside with that’s tennis and soccer are higher beginning factors for an athlete seeking to swap to volleyball due to the similarities relating to spacing and passing.
After going 3-25 general and 0-10 in convention play in the course of the Mustangs’ preliminary marketing campaign in 2016-17, Van Oort discovered a stellar native prep athlete in Evan Gaskill who was not solely an distinctive tennis participant for Cedar Rapids Prairie, however had already transformed to club-level volleyball throughout his sophomore 12 months of highschool.
“Volleyball is such a skill-specific sport, even when you’re a very good athlete,” Van Oort mentioned. “That’s why expertise is useful, as a result of there may be nothing that replaces that.”
One other factor you may’t coach is peak and by the point Gaskill was a senior at Prairie, he was 6-foot-2. His freshman 12 months at Mount Mercy, he grew to 6-4 earlier than lastly finishing his spurt to 6-6 throughout his sophomore season.
“As soon as I used to be tall, I used to be in a position to hit it over folks,” Gaskill mentioned. “It simply grew to become simpler.”
Gaskill not solely grew into the game, he grew up round volleyball together with his older sister Kendra taking part in at Rockhurst College in Kansas Metropolis earlier than specializing in faculty.
“I believe this was the trail I used to be imagined to take,” Gaskill mentioned. “Being a late bloomer allowed me to try this.”
One draw back of such a fast development spurt is the degenerative hip dysfunction referred to as Perthes Illness that has left Gaskill together with his proper leg shorter than his left and requires a full alternative within the close to future.
Gaskill must have cortisone photographs in his hip each 2-3 months to alleviate ache.
“With the ability to overcome that has formed me into who I’m,” Gaskill mentioned.
The individual the Mustang senior desires to develop into, in a dream situation, could be a world volleyball participant abroad for five to 10 years earlier than ultimately proudly owning his personal advertising and marketing company.
However first, Gaskill, Van Oort and the remainder of the Mustangs have plans for the rest of this season with Mount Mercy solidly planted because the No. 5 seed with the Coronary heart of America Convention playoffs starting Saturday and persevering with into subsequent week.
Though Van Oort felt like final 12 months’s workforce was the more than likely to qualify for the workforce’s first nationwide match, COVID-19 canceled these hopes. This 12 months’s workforce has to get previous No. 1-ranked Grand View.
“If we beat Grand View, they should allow us to in,” Van Oort mentioned.
The nationwide match is held in Des Moines subsequent month.
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