Continuing a legacy: Goering follows mother’s footsteps to play at WSU

Twenty-six years ago, Tara Goering was a member of the Wichita State volleyball team. Today, a family legacy continues as her daughter, Skylar, starts her career as a Shocker.


Khánh Nguyễn

Wichita State freshman Skylar Goering talks to her mother after the exhibition match against Kansas on August 17 inside Charles Koch Arena.

From 1991-1993, Tara Goering was a member of the Wichita State volleyball team. In 2019, Goering will be back inside Koch Arena, but this time as a supporter.

Tara’s original plan didn’t have Wichita in the picture. In 1990, she went on to attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on a track scholarship. However, Goering knew wasn’t ready to give up volleyball. In the summer she would transfer to WSU, without running any track at all for the Cornhuskers, in order to reconvene with her passion on the court by walking onto the team.

After walking on, Goering eventually played her way into a scholarship during her last three years. During her time with the Shockers, Tara played in 50 matches, recording 225 kills on 525 attacks. She also tallied 163 career digs.

“I wasn’t ready to give it up yet,” Goering said about coming back to Wichita. “I wish I would’ve had one more year of eligibility. To this day I wish I could still play another year.”

But now she gets to step back onto campus and back into Charles Koch Arena again this fall because there is a new Goering who will be suiting out for the Shockers in 2019.

Skylar Goering, one of eight true freshmen this season for Wichita State, decided last winter that she would be playing at the same school her mom did 26 years ago. She was raised in Wichita and graduated from Maize South, where she helped her team go 37-9 during her senior year while recording a .421 hitting percentage with 382 kills and tallying 252 digs.

Ever since Skylar was a toddler, Tara knew her daughter was going to fall in love with the game. Skylar has been around the game since she was born. Tara recalls the times that she would watch her daughter play with volleyballs before she was even able to walk, and by the age of seven, she was already playing the game competitively.

“Whenever she was little she would always try to play with the volleyballs, or play with me–even around the time she was starting to walk,” Tara said.

Skylar, however, doesn’t recall the exact moment she started to get involved in the sport. All she remembers is that it all started with playing with blow-up beach volleyballs for as far back as she could remember. The first team she recalls playing for is when she participated for the local YMCA.

Courtesy: Tara Goering

“I honestly don’t remember when I first started, I just remember playing with those huge beach volleyballs,” Skylar said. “It’s just always been a part of me.”

It wasn’t until high school that Skylar would single out volleyball as her main focus. Growing up, Skylar also played softball, basketball and ran track. That’s when she approached her mom about committing full-time to volleyball.

“I just knew that if I wanted to play at this level then I would have to put in the work,” Skylar said. “I really needed to focus more and more on volleyball than other sports because I knew I wanted to play in college.”

Once she made the commitment, Skylar started to take more private lessons to elevate her game. Those workouts mainly were on one-on-one drills, such as serve receive, but were all focused on repetition to help her out in the long run.

With her mother’s background, and past fandom, the decision for Skylar to become a Shocker was an easy one. Other schools did contact her, and she took just one other visit to Drury University, a private college. But deep down she already knew where she wanted to be, which was at WSU. Skylar had grown up watching the Shockers and it was always a dream of hers from a young age to suit up for the team.

Courtesy: Tara Goering

That dream came true when the team came calling for her. Head coach Chris Lamb and the assistants were already familiar with the young freshman from camps, and for being a local player. According to Goering, they were high on her potential and how she could help the team in future years.

“They knew I was a pretty physical player, and thought I was going to keep getting better,” Skylar said. “They wanted me here to develop me.”

On August 17, Skylar saw her first in-game action for the Shockers in the team’s home exhibition match against Kansas, a game she said she “wasn’t expecting” to get into. She appeared in the final three sets, recorded three digs, and her first Division-I kill.

“All I could feel was proud,” Tara said after the match. “I was just happy she was playing–she chose to be here and now I can come watch her and I love that.”

“I’m just very proud of her and how far she’s come.”

Khánh Nguyễn
Wichita State freshman Skylar Goering warms up before the exhibition game against KU on August 17 at Koch Arena.

After the exhibition, Tara was asked if her daughter was excited to be at WSU. Skylar chimed in, smiled, and nodded enthusiastically in approval.

For Skylar, her first action came as a surprise. Early in the third set against the Jayhawks is when she got the call from the bench. Soon after, she’d tally her first college point.

“I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m actually playing right now,'” Skylar chuckled. “It was just fun to be able to get out there and experience the game and experience the atmosphere.”

Skylar’s career is just getting started, but for her, knowing that she is now playing at the same place her mother did years ago holds a special place in her heart.

“It’s awesome,” Skylar said. “She (Tara) really likes it, and I’m glad I decided to come here. Even though it’s a lot different than when she was here, it’s still cool to think about and it’s really fun.”

Easton Thompson
Wichita State’s Skylar Goering sends the ball over the net towards a double block by Kansas University’s Zoe Hill and Rachel Hickman during the last set of their exhibition on Aug. 17.