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This article was published 10/2/2019 (195 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Megan Nahachewsky has never had a hard time seeing the bigger picture.
She thinks a few steps ahead, and has been that way since she started taking volleyball seriously. As a result, the picture of her next few years is now crystal clear.
The Virden Golden Bears’ MVP is headed to Thunder Bay, Ont., this fall, to join the Lakehead University Thunderwolves women’s volleyball team.
"We are really looking forward to having Megan join our program," Thunderwolves head coach Craig Barclay said in a press release. "Megan is a very dedicated athlete who brings power and athleticism to our program.
"She left a great impression on the coaching staff when she came to visit, and we know she is a great fit for our program in terms of character and leadership."
Barclay is bang-on. The five-foot-eight outside hitter has been a provincial all-star and graduating all-star in high school, played with Team Manitoba the last two years, and helped the Golden Bears to a silver medal at this year’s Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association AAA girls’ championship tournament.
More importantly, she handled losing the final to the Neelin Spartans with maturity far beyond her 18 years of age.
"I was upset, but I knew there was going to be more," she said. "I just knew it wasn’t my last game, there’s going to be opportunities to win a next-level provincial final.
"Volleyball’s a quick game. I have to say, so is life. You shouldn’t dwell on things that aren’t going your way, but get your momentum to bring yourself back."
In that final, she nearly carried her team all the way back from down 21-6 in the second and deciding set. Nahachewsky piled on a handful of kills and Virden made a 9-1 run to make it 22-15 before Neelin closed it out. She’s a smart, dynamic attacker and sound passer and has shown her ability to step up in big moments.
It became clear high school wouldn’t be the end of her volleyball career long before she had a clue where the sport would take her.
"In Grade 9 I was kind of thinking about what I was going to do after school. I didn’t have a clue, because I was in Grade 9. It clicked after Grade 10," she said. "I always had an instinct in me that I wanted to go farther. Make every practice, go hard, I was really trying as hard as I could to develop as a player and reach the next level."
Picturing life after high school, Nahachewsky saw a frame that extended beyond the gymnasium. Finding a team was more about finding a school aligned with her aspirations of nursing.
She visited Lakeland College in Lloydminster, Alta., with Dauphin’s Sarah Hogue — who will suit up for the Rustlers next season — but can’t take her entire program there. She looked south to Valley City State University in North Dakota, but saw issues with transferring credits back to Canada.
When she visited the Lakehead campus and trained with the team, it clicked.
"All the girls were so welcoming, and so is the coaching staff," Nahachewsky said. "I could take direct entry to nursing and it made way more sense.
"The one thing that really made it for me was the community. It was more like a family kind of feel. And the nursing program there is super great. It made so much sense, it was everything I was looking for."
Nahachewsky should be just fine when it comes to the academic side of university. She says she’s figured out how to solve the issue of procrastination, and her dream of playing U Sports volleyball certainly helped.
"Really driving myself to do things, that was kind of hard," she said. "I’d always think, ‘I have another day to do it.’
"But you need to get into the university so you obviously need to do well in school. You need to have the same kind of drive that you do in volleyball, and that’s kicked in the last two years."
Looking at the on-court situation she’s getting herself into, the Thunderwolves have struggled heavily this year. Sitting last in the Ontario University Athletics’ West conference at 1-14, the team needs help. Still, it might take some time for the Virden product to crack the starting rotation.
"A lot of first-year players have to really work to find their spot on the team," said Nahachewsky, who is playing with the Cats Volleyball Club’s under-18 girls’ team this winter. "It’s something I need to get used to, and it’s fine if that happens. I don’t have an issue with sitting a couple of times.
"I’m super excited about this. In Grade 9 I thought, ‘Do you really want high school to be the end of your volleyball career?’ Obviously my answer was no."
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