Every time Marriah Buss steps on the court, there’s a connection that drives her. A connection to her parents, and a connection to a sport she’s loved since the start.
“My mom and dad have been volleyball coaches my entire life,” Buss said. “I remember being in elementary school and they were seventh grade coaches at the time, so I would go to their games and practices. I would walk over to the middle school gym after class and watch the seventh graders who I thought were so big and intimidating, and so good at volleyball, so it really sparked my love for volleyball.”
Fast forward to today, and that girl in the middle school gym has just started her first season with the Omaha volleyball program. A decorated high school volleyball player at Lincoln Lutheran, Buss was a three-time first team all-state honoree and four-time first team all-conference selection.
She was named the 2018 Nebraska Gatorade Player of the Year and still owns the second-most career kills in the state with 2,372. She committed to Wichita State in 2018.
After playing 14 matches with the Shockers as a freshman last season though, Buss decided to transfer to Omaha.
“Coming in as a transfer you have a little catching up to do,” she said. “People are already looking at you like you know what you’re doing, but you’re still getting used to a new environment and have to change the way you do things, so it’s a little bit of a challenge.
“I think my teammates did a great job of talking to me or helping when I was confused or just trying to understand how we do things here. It’s a really tight-knit group and I think we do a great job of being there for each other, so I’ve really tried to just be ready to accept anything that comes my way and push my teammates.”
It wasn’t completely foreign territory, however. A Nebraska native, Buss said she’s known and played against Sami Clarkson for several years, along with other connections on the Omaha roster. She’s even familiar with the coaching staff, as Omaha was one of her final choices during her initial recruiting process.
When it came time to find a new home, it was an easy decision.
“I think in high school when I committed as a sophomore, I really just wanted to get out of Nebraska and branch out to see if I could compete with people outside of the state,” Buss said. “Very quickly I found out that there really is no place like Nebraska though, so the culture and the people who live in this state is really what drew me back in.
“Getting to move back and be close to my family was part of it, but also to be back in a place where I’m comfortable was really attractive to me.”
A self-described passionate and intense player, Buss embraces the team concept of the sport—and so far she’s fit right in. She believes they have the talent to build around, she believes this group has a chance to be special, and she believes in the coaching staff’s vision for the future.
So far, head coach Matt Buttermore has noticed the impact of the Wichita State transfer too.
“She’s an intense player, but she brings a lot of positive energy to the court and has helped add to our culture here,” Buttermore said.
“I know her teammates have pushed her to make her better, but she has also been driving everyone else to get the most out of them and we’re really happy to have Marriah in our program.”