Lund Leaves Her Legacy as a Redbird
Written by Tim Zalabak on October 16, 2022
Image courtesy of Redbird Athletics
The Illinois State University volleyball team has faced many challenges in their 2022 campaign. Allie Matters was named Head Coach after five years with Leah Johnson, many new freshmen faces were added to the roster, and now the medical retirement of impactful veteran leaders in Nicole Lund and Kaitlin Prodzinski.
Nicole Lund announced her retirement on October 15, after dealing with a series of recurring injuries since the 2021 season. WZND was able to sit down with Lund to answer questions about her hectic week.
“About a year ago the question of medical retirement popped into my head.” Lund said, “but I didn’t think it was going to get to that point.”
The 2021 All-MVC Tournament Team honoree did not come to the decision easily. Leaving the Redbird team at a record of 8-9 made the early retirement especially difficult.
“At the end of the day, it was my decision, which is what made it so stressful.” Lund said, “This has been a chapter of my life since I was eight years old, but I knew it was the right decision for my future.”
Coach Matters was one of many new aspects for the Redbird volleyball this year, along with the freshmen that have become everyday starters. Nicole Lund shared her thoughts on the added pressure and how the first-year players will fare.
“It is not an easy role to just come in and start playing. They have been very open to learning because it is a whole different game when you get to college,” Lund explained. “They [freshmen Illinois State players] are just absorbing everything, watching the film, evaluating their form, and implementing that in the next practice,” Lund said.
There is going to be an added reliance on the young Illinois State players in Aida Shadewald, Regan Haith, and Emily Weber. Lund’s short time with these teammates has shown they have what it takes to compete at a high level.
One of Lund’s most memorable achievements in her years at Illinois State was the Missouri Valley Conference win over Loyola in 2021. Lund lit up the floor that night with six blocks and helped the team to an improbable 0-2 set comeback.
“I was so confident in our team.” Lund reminisced, “when you are in that positive environment there was no stopping us. That’s why we were able to reverse sweep Loyola.”
The Redbird volleyball team has their work cut out for them this season. Coach Matters is forced to be creative this year, putting her most talented six on the floor all the time.
Illinois State will get back on the road this week to face off against Belmont University and Murray State.
You can listen to Nicole’s full interview with WZND as part of the Thursday, October 13 edition of the RedZone. Previously aired RedZone podcasts can be found on wznd.com.