Photo by Whitney Pottschmidt
By Victoria Cameron
Junior Tara Callahan of the volleyball team was selected to be the Great Plains Athletic Conference/Hauff Mid-America Sports Volleyball Setter of the Week two weeks in a row, and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Setter of the Week.
Callahan was previously honored as the GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports Volleyball Setter of the Week in 2017. This year, she received the award first on Sept. 3 and again on Sept. 10. Sept. 10 also saw her gaining her NAIA accolade and senior Emmie Noyd being chosen as the GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports Attacker of the Week. Callahan is the first member of the Concordia volleyball program to receive a national weekly award since 2016.
“One of my personal goals is to earn that GPAC award, but I really just play to be the best setter for my team, not the GPAC or NAIA,” Callahan said.
Callahan chose Concordia because she got to play in open gyms with the players from the 2015 national qualifying team, and they were a positive influence. Her college career since joining Concordia has been full of ups and downs.
“Freshman year we almost set a record for how many games we lost in a season, but sophomore year we set a record for how many sets we won in a row,” Callahan said.
Callahan credits her coaches for the upward trend.
“We were blessed to be able to hire Ben and Angie Boldt and they have given so much to this team,” Callahan said. “With two kids at home and their marriage, they have devoted every second of their time to making us a better team and better women overall. They have turned us into a true family and I will be forever grateful for them as coaches and as people.”
The volleyball team’s season this year has been full of triumphs. They were 12-0 undefeated until Sept. 14 but have since brought their record to 14-2. Their GPAC record is 3-2.
“Marissa [Hoerman] and I have been in our roles as libero and setter since freshman year, and I think we can both agree that the attitude on the court is the complete opposite as it was during that 2017 season,” Callahan said. “This season there is this drive, this competitiveness, coming from freshmen and seniors alike.”
Callahan was introduced to volleyball by her mother. When Callahan was five years old, her mother taught her the fundamentals of volleyball in their living room by passing a balloon back and forth. Callahan’s mother was the head coach of her high school volleyball team.
“She actually had a greater passion for basketball, but she saw how much I enjoyed volleyball so she did everything in her power to support my journey to play college volleyball,” Callahan said.
Callahan was also involved with basketball and track in high school, but loved volleyball more. She played middle blocker until high school when she thought about her future in college and decided she wanted to play something other than middle.
“I had been told that I had ‘soft hands’ from many coaches at individual camps, so I figured I would give setting a shot,” Callahan said. “That club season, my team ended up third at Colorado Crossroads and it pretty much solidified my interest in becoming a setter, because I loved feeling responsible for giving good balls to my hitters and being a leader.”
Callahan is majoring in psychology and sports psychology.
“I really want to continue working with athletes, whether they are current athletes or retired athletes,” Callahan said.
Callahan’s next goal is one she shares with her team: to win GPAC. She hopes students will continue to support the volleyball team as she continues to fight to accomplish her ambitions.
“People always told me that I would play in college, and I believed them because that was my dream and I wouldn’t let anything get in the way of that,” Callahan said.