A knee injury derailed Hanna Wilson’s junior season and left her future in doubt.
On Sunday, the Independence senior got back on track when she announced her commitment to continue her education and volleyball career at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
“With all of the uncertainty of the past year, I was beyond excited to get the opportunity to continue my volleyball career in college,” Wilson said.
Despite sitting out her junior season, Wilson had earned a reputation as a talented player and dominant hitter.
The Duquesne coaching staff had reached out to her last June and maintained contact with her throughout the summer and into the fall.
“They came to watch me play when I returned to (Junior Olympic) this spring and invited me for a visit last month,” Wilson said. “We went for a visit and loved the campus.”
Wilson, who learned a lot about physical therapy during her rehabilitation, was impressed with the school’s facilities and the fact it boasts one of the nation’s top PT programs.
“They have an awesome renovated fieldhouse where the volleyball and basketball teams play. I am planning on studying physical therapy and they have one of the top programs in the country,” she said. “It’s also a quick two-hour drive from home. Just for the record, I will never be a Steelers fan but I will cheer on the Penguins.”
Wilson’s dad, Mike, played for the Penguins during the 2001-02 season.
Duquesne recruited Wilson to play as a six-rotation outside hitter.
“I plan on continuing to work hard and get stronger and earn that spot,” she said.
As a freshman, Wilson recorded 160 kills and 54 blocks in just 78 sets. She was even more impressive as a sophomore. That year, she finished with 349 kills in 90 sets.
The Blue Devils advanced to the Division III state championship game in both of Wilson’s first two seasons.
Wilson’s injury kept her off the court in 2020 but Independence returned to the state championship game, where they fell to Huron, 3-2.
Wilson returned to the court this past May.
“I was able to compete in the last couple of tournaments as well as Nationals in Las Vegas,” she said. “I continue to work with my trainer and therapist to strengthen my knee and keep the rest of my body healthy.”
Next week, Wilson will finally suit up with her Independence teammates to compete in the Super 20 tournament in Toledo. The Blue Devils are eager for the 2021 season to begin as they have their hopes set on returning to the Final Four to take care of some unfinished business.
“I am trying to keep my teammates optimistic and pumped about the season,” Wilson said. “We are taking it one game at a time but have our ultimate goal of winning a state championship.”