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LSU Volleyball Setter Maddie Waak on Coming to LSU, The Season to date and more

When people think of this LSU Volleyball team they quickly gravitate to Jurnee Robinson, Jade Demps or Anita Anwusi and rightfully so. One player that doesn't get the recognition deserved is Maddie Waak, the setter from Brookshire, Texas. Daughter to two college athletes, Nick and Robin Waak who met at Centenary College of Louisiana. Nick was playing baseball prior to being drafted by the Indians and Robin was playing both softball and volleyball.

Maddie was an athlete from the word Geaux as she said "when I was little I did swim, I played softball, I played basketball, but in the end I ended up choosing volleyball."

She says in middle school she decided to focus on volleyball and it paid off. Coming out of high school Maddie was the highest ranked recruit of the LSU 2021 class, ranking No. 30 according to Prep Volleyball. That afforded her the opportunity to go wherever she wanted. She detailed why she chose the Tigers "I committed to LSU the summer before my freshman year of high school. So I came on an unofficial and like the end of eighth grade and like, I just loved the school and atmosphere. I went to a baseball game on my unofficial and just like seeing the environment around sports. I knew that this is where I wanted to be."

We discussed the transition from HS to college and she detailed "For me, it wasn't really a crazy adjustment. I played on a pretty high level club volleyball team. So it really wasn't hard. It was not too bad and especially with how welcoming like the whole team was. I just, I fit right in pretty quickly. So it was really nice. It really wasn't hard." In just about every column of the stat sheet she has either doubled or quadrupled her numbers in some cases. Maddie on what she feels has led to the jump in production " I feel like this year it's just been more of an opportunity. I feel like last year I did get to play a lot, but I just feel like this year, I've had a bigger impact, full role on the team and I just got to give more and having this spring season to like train and get better, obviously has helped a lot. So just. being able to give more has been good."

I mentioned how most people will think of the elite hitters like Jurnee Robinson but many don't see the amazing job that Waak is doing at setting these hitters up with a great second touch that is leading to a lot of this great production. When asked how she feels when seeing her teammates excel off of the opportunities she sets them up with she stated "obviously being a setter isn't the most glorious position. Obviously, the hitter getting all of the kills and the recognition is, but. I love watching them succeed and just doing what I can to help them. Like their numbers make me happy, like just seeing them do great. Like that's really what I'm here for is to make them or to give them the best opportunity that they can to score points and help our team win."

We discussed how this team started out SEC play at (2-1) and then hit a 4 game skid but the team never seemed phased by it and snapped the losing streak with a win against Alabama last Sunday. She stated regarding the team staying positive "I just feel like starting off so well, like we knew that that's just those four losses were just not our best games, obviously, like we knew that we could do better. So I feel like that's how we stayed positive. We just knew that wasn't all we could give. And I just feel like we've been working hard these last few weeks to just show how much more we really have. And I think the rest of the season is gonna reflect that." Since that game the Tigers are (1-2) with one loss coming from #15 Kentucky and sweeping the South Carolina Gamecocks before losing a 5 set thriller to the Ole Miss Rebels.

She says one of her biggest inspirations in her volleyball career is "watching the USA team and just like seeing how all of them run a system and how their tempo has been super consistent and how they just overall dominate as a program." She said on drills she uses to stay sharp as a setter "Just a lot of reps, just setting balls into targets and. trying to get a consistent tempo and speed down so that our outsides have the best chance to go get the ball at a consistent place every time and succeed."

Waak by the numbers is impressive as she leads the team in Assists (660) , Digs (174), and her (21) Service Aces is only second on the team to Erin Carmichael's (23). Her Assists ranks Top 10 in the SEC.



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