Ariel Pindegayosh will be relied on to strengthen the attack for the Waldorf University volleyball team during the next four seasons.
Pindegayosh, a 6-foot-1 senior middle hitter from North Community High School, signed a letter of intent with the Warriors on Tuesday.
“A naturally-talented athlete, I believe that Ariel is really beginning to achieve her potential for the sport of volleyball,” Waldorf coach Bri Ebenhoe said. “My assistant coach, Cecilia Brandon, saw the awesome possibility that Ariel possesses and convinced her to come and experience what Waldorf could do for her.”
A three-year varsity starter and letter winner for the Polar Bears, Pindegayosh quickly landed on Waldorf’s radar with Brandon being instrumental in the recruiting process.
“Ariel has a great attitude and will bring a strong block and hard swing to our front row,” Brandon said. “We are excited to see Ariel’s transition and believe she has the versatility to compete in our right-side, outside and middle hitter position.”
The chance to compete at the collegiate level has Pindegayosh ready to put in even more hard work. With encouragement from her mother motivating her to achieve her dreams, Pindegayosh is aiming to make herself the best student-athlete she can be.
“It means a lot and I worked so hard to get to this point,” Pindegayosh said. “Now that I’m officially doing it, it is crazy. It still hasn’t set in my mind yet that I’m about to go to college. My mom has been holding me to a high standard and knew I could make it this far. I’m going to make the best of the opportunity these coaches are giving me and I greatly appreciate them.”
Pindegayosh is the daughter of Twilia Pindegayosh and Andre Kunjan. She plans to pursue a psychology degree at Waldorf and said everything about the feel of the university – including the volleyball program, faculty and staff – led her to join the Warriors.
“The whole atmosphere I got when I visited just seemed right,” Pindegayosh said. “I like the small campus. I come from a small school already, so that’s a good thing. The coaches were so nice and welcoming, along with the players and the staff from the school. It just seems like the right place for me to continue my education and volleyball career.”
Pindegayosh’s continuous improvement throughout her senior season is a promising sign that she has the ability to be a multi-dimensional player when she steps onto the court at Waldorf this fall.
“Within the last year, her play as a middle has improved and we see her beginning to develop her defensive versatility,” Ebenhoe said. “We see strong potential for her to contribute in multiple positions in the front row.”
With Pindegayosh’s height, she possesses physical attributes that will provide the Warriors with a lift.
“Her height and reach will allow her to make an impact for us in practice right away by challenging the team on the court every day,” Ebenhoe said. “I look forward to helping her reach her full academic and athletic potential at Waldorf.”
The fourth member of Waldorf’s 2017 recruiting class, Pindegayosh joins fellow Minnesotan and Apple Valley High School standout Alexa Hort, along with two recruits from Iowa – Collins-Maxwell’s Kathleen Baldwin and Rockford Senior High’s Skylar Schmitt.
Waldorf opens the season in the Northwestern Classic, scheduled for Aug. 25-26 at Orange City. Fitting the culture of the program, Pindegayosh is expected to mesh with her new teammates when she makes her debut with the Warriors this season.
“Ariel fit in with the team really well on her visit and is going to make a great teammate,” Ebenhoe said. “She is really excited for this new challenge and we’re excited to have her as a part of our team.”