After three years of injuries and challenges, Morgan Stout poised to be WSU’s next hidden gem


Sean Marty / The Sunflower

Wichita State freshman Morgan Stout celebrates after a point during their match against UCF on Oct. 1 inside Charles Koch Arena.

Wichita State freshman Morgan Stout’s journey into the sport of volleyball was much different than most. Stout, a native of Fowler, Kansas, hadn’t touched a volleyball until her freshman year of high school at Nickerson High School. 

Stout’s friends convinced her to try out for volleyball and she hasn’t looked back since. Stout earned second team all-league honors during her freshman season and went on to become a team captain and first-team all-state honoree by her senior season.

“I always thought volleyball was a super boring, weird sport but my friends convinced me to try out and I was like ‘okay I’ll try out for it’,” Stout said. “I actually ended up loving it a lot, I really liked it, I wanted to go far.”

During Stout’s sophomore year while playing for Shockwave Volleyball Club, Stout’s athleticism garnered the attention of Chris Lamb and the rest of the WSU coaching staff. 

“I always looked up to them but I was also really scared of them because I was like ‘They’re D1 college coaches’, I don’t want to mess up in front of them,” Stout said.

Lamb then decided to offer Stout a full-ride scholarship after seeing her play. Stout committed a few days later. 

“From the first time I ever saw her, this girl could be as good as she wants to be,” Lamb said. “We’ve got to pick a position for her and train her.”

‘What’s my why’

During Stout’s junior year of high school and less than a year after she committed to WSU, she tore her ACL and underwent surgery. Stout’s mind initially thought about her future with the Shockers. 

“I thought they were going to take away my scholarship, but luckily they didn’t,” Stout said. “That was a confidence booster for me knowing that my coaches wouldn’t give up on me for something like that.”

Stout made a full recovery following her surgery but injuries continued to follow her once she came to Wichita. After eight months off due to COVID-19, Stout didn’t make it through the first week of practice due to a wide array of injuries. 

Wichita State freshman celebrates a point during their game against Creighton on Sept. 18 inside Charles Koch Arena. (Sean Marty / The Sunflower)

Stout had two stress fractures in her navicular bone in the left ankle, two floating bone chips, and a bone split in her arch. Stout had to get her bone chips taken out to replace the stress fracture, ending her freshman season.

Stout initially suffered the bone split in high school but delayed the surgery because her volleyball career could be put at risk.

“I was told that surgery would take away my whole volleyball career if I did that, so I avoided that surgery and never thought I’d continue to play because I’d been in so much pain,” Stout said. “My trainers, my coaches and the doctors have been extremely cooperative with me. I’m extremely blessed right now.”

Stout worked tirelessly to get back to court and spent the season watching practices and games from afar. She said the rehab process pushed her even more to make her return.

“I always think ‘what’s my why’ every time I come to the gym,” Stout said. “Why am I here? And my why is because it makes me happy, because it’s a break from reality, honestly. I’d honestly try to work so hard in practice so that games feel easier to me. I just want to get to the spot on the videos of us winning a championship game and I want to be that person that pushes everybody.”

While she was recovering, Stout said she found herself in a dark place, having to sit on the sidelines with the uncertainty of her future. 

“I was so depressed and I was just going through so much,” Stout said. “I had my teammates, my family, everybody to depend on me and be there for me. Looking back at that now, I’m extremely blessed that I can walk around and play because I feel people take advantage of those really small things that could determine whether or not you’re happy for the rest of your life. I’m extremely blessed and I’m so much happier now than I was about a year ago.”

Stout said during that time she took the sport of volleyball for granted and is blessed to have it back in her life.

“There are days that I wake up exhausted and then I think ‘what’s your why’. That’s the first thing I think about, why are you doing this? Today, I count my blessings and I’m very thankful for everything God has put in my life and for the people in my life and for my teammates. I’m just extremely blessed for those people.”

‘We haven’t seen the best of Morgan Stout’

After months of recovering and patience, Morgan Stout has returned to the court this season. Stout saw limited in the season-opening tournament but was called upon when Lauren McMahon went down with an injury. 

Stout started in all three games in the Shocker Volleyball Classic and against South Dakota, she contributed five kills and tied for the team lead with four blocks. She led the Shockers with six blocks against Wyoming and added eight kills with a .238 hitting percentage.

“She’s just a freak athlete, if you see her out there she had a block that she hung in the air for like 10 seconds but she can just fly,” sophomore setter Kayce Litzau said. “So, just knowing where she is and helping her out with the strategy because she’ll get the athletic part down so easy. She’s there all the time so just talking to her in between every game and every point is really important. She’s made a monsterous leap and it’s really cool to see.”

Teammates and coaches have raved about Stout’s potential on the court. Redshirt sophomore Brylee Kelly said that Stout has shown glimpses in practice and it is only a matter of time for it to transfer over to game-action.

“We haven’t even seen the best of Morgan Stout,” Kelly said. “She’s so raw, that’s the way I describe her. One more year under her belt or maybe even next week, she’s going to be unstoppable.”