The Orediggers Athletics department has had in recent years what are arguably the best seasons in its 100 year history. From cross country runners to the Women’s Soccer team, records are being shattered and history is being made. Now, junior volleyball player Jackie Stabell can add her name to the elite group of record setters, as she became the school’s first ever All-American volleyball player last week.
This year, Stabell has racked up a variety of accolades, earning AVCA All-Central Region and First Team All-RMAC honors, being named to the NCAA Division II Central Region All-Tournament Team, and being a First Team Academic All-RMAC athlete.
The outside hitter from Tomball, Texas, however, will tell you that her greatest accomplishment was being a part of the volleyball team’s first NCAA Division II National Tournament victory. After splitting the season series with RMAC rival and top contender Nebraska-Kearney, Mines earned a third meeting with UNK when they were named an eight seed in the National Tournament. Mines stunned the home crowd, pulling out the 3-1 upset over the then fourth-ranked Lopers. In the second round, the Lady Orediggers won the first set against Southwest Minnesota State and looked primed to continue their dream season, but fell in three consecutive sets.
However, the future is bright for the Orediggers. Stabell anchors a Mines team that loses only one senior this season and will have six next season as the Orediggers look to build on their success. For her efforts and accomplishments, Stabell is this week’s Athlete of the Week.
[Oredigger] What does it mean for you to get named All-American?
[Stabell] I was really surprised by it. Its a huge honor, but it’s huge for the program. We saw Amanda [Massay] get National Player of the Week twice this year. It’s nice to work so hard and do all the things right and start getting noticed for it by other teams.
When did you start to see this season shaping up to be something special?
We had a ten game win streak, and about eight games into it we could see ourselves as a top team. Especially when we beat Kearney, then we knew we could play against anyone.
What was it like to beat UNK twice this season?
We match up really well against them. We have similar styles that we defend really well. And they’re kind of our rival that we really want to beat.
What do you love about playing volleyball?
I love the fast pace. There’s never a dull moment and I love that feeling you get when you get a kill, that adrenaline rush.
Do you play any other sports in your free time?
Softball and soccer. And I ski and snowboard in the winter. Every year my family comes up and we go to Beaver Creek.
Favorite class you’ve taken?
Engineering Econ. I’m double majoring in economics and I really like the class. It applies to everyone.
Least Favorite class?
Physics I. Mainly because as a freshman I didn’t know what to expect from classes.
What is the worst final you have to take this semester?
Probably Circuits. It’s only bad because I really need to do well on that test.
Favorite part about being a student athlete?
The team is just so great. It’s great to be a part of a tight-knit family. We’re like sisters and we all know each other so well. Its nice when you’re away from home.
The lack of free time or sleep. You’re constantly busy.
What is the nerdiest thing you’ve seen on campus?
Oh man. Freshman year in the dorms there was this guy in a third floor window. He was wearing, I think a bathrobe, and his chem goggles and had like a stick or something in his hand. He was yelling at all the people to down below to get off the grass. It’s not really that nerdy, but interesting.
Nerdiest thing that the volleyball team does?
We actually, they’re going to kill me, have a Harry Potter ranking system for all of the people on campus. We call people full-bloods, half-bloods, and muggles. The training staff all make fun of us for it.
Favorite part about Christmas Break?
I don’t have to worry about school at all since classes don’t carry over.
Knowing what you do know about Mines, what advice would you give an incoming student?
Work hard freshman year ’cause it doesn’t get any easier. And try to make really good friends during your freshman year.