FAIRFIELD — Former Fairfield volleyball standout Danae Drish finished her freshman year at the University of Nebraska-Kearney this spring. After one year of college volleyball, Drish has sharpened both her volleyball skills and her mind since heading off to school.
Drish took a redshirt season for the 2019 volleyball season. She used that time to practice and learn with one of the best teams in NCAA Division II. UNK won an incredible 38 games in a row before losing their first game, the national championship, 3-1 against Casl State San Bernardino. Before that loss, they had won their first five postseason contests.
The final three games of UNK’s tournament run were at the national championships in Denver Colorado.
“It was fun. The atmosphere was always loud, and there are lots of fans,” Drish says. “Nebraska is a big volleyball state, so people would come watch, and we have a pretty big fan base.”
Drish didn’t always travel with the team because of her redshirt status. She says being a redshirt relieved a lot of the early stresses a collegiate athlete faces.
“It really does help a lot,” Drish says. “You don’t have to jump in and worry about the playing, and the games, and the travel. I really got to work on my schooling.”
And get to work on her schooling she did. Drish made the dean’s list at UNK for both the fall and spring semesters, something she says is pretty common among UNK volleyball players.
“It really helps when you have supportive professors,” Drish says. “Coach holds us to a very high standard for team GPA. His goal is to have all of us athletes on a dean’s list, at least one semester.”
After a year with the Lopers, Drish will be transferring to Central College in Pella. She says she wanted to play a little closer to home.
“It’s not because of any bad experiences at UNK,” Drish says. “I just wanted to be closer to my family. Also, my tuition when down because I’m in state.”
Drish is the daughter of Fairfield high school coach Diana Drish. Danae helped out with the Fairfield volleyball team this fall, and kept tabs on the Trojans throughout the year. She is an Education major and says she could see herself coaching in the future.
“I’m getting my coaching endorsement along with my middle school endorsement,” Drish says. “I did coach this year for club volleyball. I coached a 12-year old team, so that was really fun.”
Drish will start her year with Central as a redshirt freshman in the fall, assuming student-athletes are able to go back to school despite COVID-19 restrictions.