Having already dominated on the volleyball court, it came as somewhat of a surprise to see this all-star lacing up her basketball shoes and dribbling down the court. Senior Arianna Neumeyer made the decision to join Lawrence’s women’s basketball team late this winter break and she has zero regrets.
New Coach, Riley Woldt, joined the Lawrence athletics department this last spring. It was then that he pursued Neumeyer in the hopes of getting her to join the team. He had heard about her athleticism and previous experience on her high school varsity basketball team and started to recruit her. At first she told him there was no way because she “had a tough schedule, would have just got done with [her] volleyball season, and it was [her] fourth year in collegiate sports, so [she’s] old and [her] body is worn down.” Once her last volleyball season was over, however, Woldt approached her again and won her over.
“He had me come in so he could give me the full run-down on the team and what they stand for… So, he convinced me a little bit. I realized I kind of missed the game,” said Neumeyer. Coach Woldt planted the seed that ended up taking root and sprouting an addition to this year’s basketball team.
After this conversation, Neumeyer called her parents and they highly encouraged her to agree to it and join the team, and they weren’t the only ones. Many of her friends also agreed that she should join and continued to express their opinions.
Neumeyer was the head coach of a local travel volleyball team and had to work it out with her assistant coach, but eventually the pieces fell into place and she was able to join the team. She started out as a practice player, with the intentions of simply helping out by bringing the team to an even 10, allowing for them to actually practice five on five. The whole program had bets on how long she would last before becoming a full-time player. It only took one practice.
A couple weeks of practice later, the team left for their St. Louis trip, and Neumeyer started playing as a rostered player as soon as they got back. It took some convincing, but the coach and team won her over.
“The coach is amazing. He knows what he’s talking about, and he’s probably one of the best coaches I have ever had,” said Neumeyer. While it was all praise for the coaching staff, it was the team that won her over. “I love the team,” she said. “They were immediately so welcoming of me. They were so excited to have 10 people of the team.” The team is her favorite aspect of playing basketball for Lawrence University. They are fun to be around and made her feel like part of the team as soon as she stepped on the court.
Neumeyer is having a blast playing basketball with her fellow Vikings. “I actually enjoy going to practice. They’re intense, but you enjoy it still. You learn a lot and have a lot of fun. We continue to get better with every minute we have with each other,” she said.
Obviously, the goal is to make it to the conference tournament, and Neumeyer believes that is absolutely possible with this team. “We have one of the best defenses in the conference. If we figure out a couple more things, make some small adjustments, we will make it,” she said. Neumeyer believes that she adds some extra depth and her biggest strength is defense. Her experience in volleyball has increased her ability to read the court and make predictions of her opponent’s movements, which makes for good proactive defense.
Neumeyer joined the team in the hopes of gaining great memories with an awesome team. She didn’t join to try and be a star. She joined to help the team out in however they needed her. So far, she has had a great experience, loves the team and is a force to be reckoned with on the court.
The Viking’s next home game is Saturday January 19 at 1 p.m. Come show some school spirit and cheer on the Vikings.