Hooper’s exit means it’s Feekin’s time to shine


All it took were four little words to make Chelsey Feekin cry. 

“It’s your team now,” assistant volleyball coach RJ Abella told the setter, a redshirt junior. 

The tears weren’t from sorrow, but from the realization that her time has finally arrived. 

Feekin, a native of Papillion, Neb., spent the last three years playing behind one of the all-time greats in Wichita State volleyball history, Mary Elizabeth Hooper.

The torch passed to Feekin upon Hooper’s graduation, and she might be exactly what the Shockers need to reclaim their spot atop the Missouri Valley Conference.

“Chelsey is a different kind of setter than Hooper was,” senior outside hitter Emily Adney said. “That will be nice because the Valley probably isn’t expecting that. They have seen the same thing for four years from Wichita State.”

Feekin brings with her a more offensive approach to a position not known for its scoring ability. The setter tends to be among the most athletic players on the court and is responsible for knowing all the plays, all the sets, and where everyone is at all times.

“I think I am like another attacker on the team, not just a setter,” Feekin said. 

It’s the setter that gets the ball in place for the hitters to do the scoring. But most setters don’t have the abilities that Feekin has.

“One thing that is cool about Chelsey is she is left-handed, so that makes it easier for her to dump the volleyball,” Abella said. “Not a lot of setters are going to be like a Chelsey Feekin.”

Feekin, an elementary education major, has also discovered that her passion for teaching—and leading—is just as strong on the court as off. 

“Chelsey gets on the girls but she does it in such a unique way that they don’t take offense to it,” Abella said.

Feekin’s new role as leader has helped her develop into a better person and a better player. With the season set to begin this weekend, Feekin is ready to prove that this is indeed her team. 

“I think I have grown a lot. I’m not scared to talk and say things. I feel I know my place a lot better now. It’s a lot easier to take control of the team,” Feekin said. “It’s not going to be the same Shocker volleyball team that people have been seeing.”