SHEFFIELD TWP. — Heather Younkin can focus on volleyball now.
The Clearview senior recently accepted an athletic scholarship to Kent State, putting her recruiting process in the rearview mirror and her quest to win a fourth straight Patriot Athletic Conference championship at the forefront.
“I didn’t want to go into senior year for volleyball and then afterwards have to stress out about college and working it all out,” Younkin said.
Younkin, a 5-foot-11 middle hitter, said the decision ultimately came down to Kent and Bowling Green. She visited the Kent campus with her parents and fell in love immediately.
The fact Kent State plays in the MAC with a number of Ohio schools will allow her parents to attend a number of her matches.
She was also impressed with Kent’s physical therapy program, a potential major.
But the feeling she got from her future teammates cemented her decision.
“Meeting the team and the coaches, it just felt like home,” Younkin said. “I met them though the camps and everything. They were all really nice. They didn’t give any attitude or seem stuck up or anything.”
Kaylee Koller, an Amherst graduate, will be a junior on the Kent State team.
The Clippers won 20 games for the first time in school history last year, but Younkins’ primary goal is to improve on their tournament run, which ended in the district semifinals with a 3-0 loss to Padua.
With a group of young players coming up, Younkins will once again be the center of attention for the Clippers.
“We knew she was going to be an impact player right out of grade school,” Clearview coach Dave Dorinski said. “It was just a matter if she could stay healthy and progress. I think she’s going to be an impact player for Kent State. She’s got a lot to offer.”
Younkin had 314 kills and an attack percentage of 90 percent, as well as 137 solo blocks and a 2.286 block average for the 22-3 Clippers. Those numbers earned her the Lorain County Division II Player of the Year award, as well as first-team all-district, all-county and all-league honors. She was also a third-team All-Ohio pick in Division II.
Dorinski said her jumping and blocking ability is what Kent coveted most. This year she’s looking to try to improve her vertical jump by about 2-6 inches, which, according to her coach, is currently at 10 feet.
Regardless of whether or not her teammates select her as a captain, Dorinski knows Younkin will be a strong presence on the team.
“She is excellent with the younger kids,” Dorinski said. “She is a good ambassador for the sport and for the school. Every moment she has, she’s always working with somebody. She has a great personality.”
Contact Chris Sweeney at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.