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The Antelope

Volleyball player goes from foe to friend after transfer

Jaden Ferguson was an all-MIAA player at Northwest Missouri. Photo by Shelby Berglund / Antelope Staff

There are lots of ways you could spend your birthday. Jaden Ferguson spent hers in her hometown playing volleyball at Memorial Stadium for the Lopers in front of 90,000 people.

Volleyball day in Lincoln was just Ferguson’s fourth game as a Loper. 

“It was my birthday so that was an added bonus,” Ferguson said. “Being a Husker volleyball fan and getting to be a part of that, it was so cool and is definitely a favorite volleyball memory for me.”

Ferguson transferred from MIAA rival Northwest Missouri to UNK to play for the Loper volleyball team.

She had one more year of eligibility and was looking to use it elsewhere.

After graduating from Northwest in the spring with a degree in journalism, Ferguson was looking to advance her education at a new institution. 

Wanting to stay in the MIAA, the masters program for public communication at UNK was exactly what she was looking for.

“It was online so it kind of just worked out, and I really do like this conference,” Ferguson said.  “So it gave me the chance to stay and play really good volleyball.”

Playing against Ferguson in the past, coach Rick Squiers jumped at the opportunity to bring her to Kearney.

“We got to know her a little bit more in the recruiting process,” Squiers said. “She’s got a great volleyball IQ, and so far, just the perfect teammate. I mean, she’s super positive with all the people she’s playing with. She’s very coachable and just the whole package of playing, competing, being a great teammate, being a good student and the right kind of person that you want representing your program.”

At Northwest, Ferguson stood out for her achievements in the classroom and on the court.

She was a first-team all-MIAA selection and third-team AVCA all-American her last year at Northwest. As well as a three-time MIAA Academic Honor Roll student and two-time MIAA Scholar Athlete.

As a freshman, Ferguson started for 14 games, set career-highs with 19 kills in one game, 21 digs in another. She had 133 kills that season.

In 2021, she was ranked third on the team for Second-Team All-MIAA with 61 blocks. By the end of the season, she had 11 double-figure kill performances.

With 33 digs in a game, Ferguson topped her freshman record in her last year as a Bearcat. 

“She’s such a versatile player when you talk about things on the court,” Squiers said. “She’s a really crafty attacker, she can score kills 10 different ways and she’s a great competitor.”

During her time at Northwest Missouri, Ferguson played in 86 matches, with 726 kills, 560 digs and 160 blocks.

So far in her time at UNK, Ferguson said she’s bonded with the girls her age on the team as well as some of the freshmen.

“It just was so obvious that she was the kind of person you want on your team,” Squiers said. “She is one of those people that when things aren’t going well on the court, she has the right thing to say to one of her teammates if they are struggling or made a mistake. We’re lucky to have her.”

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Shelby Berglund
Shelby Berglund, Photography Editor
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