By Andrew Nelson
Just about a month ago, University of Nebraska at Omaha senior outside hitter Kelly Wollak became the 19th player in school history to record 1,000 kills in her volleyball career. She’s the first Maverick to do so since the program made the jump to Division I.
“I wanted to reach the milestone,” Wollak said, “and it was always in the back of my head.”
Wollak entered the University of Missouri – Kansas City Kangaroo Klassic last month with 990 career kills and earned the 10 she needed for the milestone in the Mavs opening game that weekend.
She recorded 17 kills in a 3-2 win over Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. She had 22 more kills tallied on in the final two games of the tournament in a sweep against Bradley, and a loss to host UMKC.
Wollak has started every match for the Mavs the past two seasons, and even played in a majority of the games her freshman year. She recorded double-figure kills in 21 of UNO’s 33 matches last season, and earned 13 double-double stat lines.
“I had a great opportunity to be on the court all four years and so the feat was possible,” she said. “And with the help of my teammates, we made it happen.”
So far this season she has already earned seven double-doubles for a Maverick squad that has been red hot since beginning conference play.
“My teammates are so vital, and it wouldn’t be possible without them,” she said. Not only does she credit her teammates play for her success, her coaches also helped tremendously.
Wollak credits Maverick Head Coach Rose Shires and staff for believing she could do big things for the Mavericks while being a shorter outside hitter at 5-foot-9.
“I picked the right school with a coach who believes in me to do big things for being a shorter outside hitter,” Wollak said.
She says her coaches trained her in a way that allowed her to get a majority of kills despite being a shorter-than average outside hitter.
“I can’t be conventional in the way I hit because of my size,” she said. “They taught me shots and raised my volleyball IQ to make this goal a possibility.”
Wollak has aspirations to continue her volleyball career professionally overseas in Europe or Central America when she’s finished at UNO. After that she plans to work in collegiate athletics as a coach or in administration.
The Bloomington, Minn. native lettered five years at Thomas Jefferson High School for the Jaguars. There she was two-year team captain in volleyball and also lettered two years as a forward on the hockey team.
She also won an AAU 17 Club national championship and later went on to compete with her club team in Europe later that year.
Wollak is also a member of the UNO Chancellor’s List and Dean’s List, and was named to the Summit League Commissioner’s List of Academic Excellence the past two seasons. She has been on the
Summit League Academic Honor Roll the past three seasons.
Wollak and her teammates are making some noise in the conference as of late, and with her competing at such a high level with about a month left in the season, Omaha volleyball has the potential to make a splash come tournament time.