Freshman Hannah Oehlberg Embodies Bright IUPUI Volleyball Future

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Silver linings are often coveted when everything else is not going great. This season, the Jags are off to a slow 2-6 start in Horizon League play and a 5-17 start overall following a loss to Northern Kentucky on Saturday. The silver lining? Freshman Hannah Oehlberg.

Oehlberg is from DeKalb, Ill. She played for four years at DeKalb High School and helped to take her team further in the state tournament than the school had ever gone before. The competitive volleyball program is what drew her to IUPUI. Fast forward to the thick of the Jags’ season, and she loves everything about it.

On the season, Oehlberg has 56 kills and 53 digs in 26 sets played. Saturday, against Northern Kentucky, she had arguably her best outing so far this season. She had 11 kills, eight digs and two blocks. Her performance was enough to impress head coach Steve Payne.

Hannah Oehlberg
Photo by Brian Drumm via IUPUI Athletics

“I put her in to start, and she put a little spark in there,” Payne said. “As a freshman, I think she did a pretty good job out there today.”

The talent is there, but what really makes Oehlberg a silver lining is her attitude and work ethic. After the match, she was brief in describing what she liked about her performance. She had a few critiques of her game, though. “Service game wasn’t my strongest point from tonight,” she said. “Just reading the back more too. Doing what works.”

Oehlberg stressed watching film and working hard in the gym as a method of turning the season around. “I work hardest on changing up the shots I am hitting so that when I am playing I can make a positive impact on the court and add to our points and kills,” she said.

She preached dedication to the program. She urged looking at stats to see what needs to be improved. As a freshman on a team that has three seniors, this is a great sign for the future. Oehlberg also takes in all she can from Maggie Gibson, Abby Boatman and Elizabeth Scott, the team’s seniors. “They’re very helpful… very intense about dedication to the program,” she said. She credits the senior members of the team for teaching her how to stay committed to her craft.

One of the most encouraging things a young player, or any player for that matter, can have is a humble attitude. Oehlberg didn’t hesitate to credit her setters for her 11 kills. “They set us up for success,” she said. Oehlberg also praised her teammates for being mentally prepared. “Knowing where you’re going to put the ball and what their defense will do,” she said. “I didn’t expect to play a lot but I’ve just been working as hard as I can so that I can get to that spot and help,” she said.

Hannah Oehlberg is a silver lining for this Jags team. She makes an effort to learn as much as she can from the seniors so that she can help the team be successful in the future. Her countless hours spent in the gym, coupled with her natural talent, mental preparedness and the fact that she is only a freshman bodes well for the future of this team. Oehlberg is working to set up a successful career, and will be sure to make it known that any success is earned through effort.

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