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East grad powers through injury in first year at IU-Kokomo

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AS scintillating as Micayla Speidel’s freshman volleyball season at Indiana University-Kokomo turned out, it wasn’t pain free.

The former Columbus East standout pounded a conference-leading 520 kills, despite playing with a cyst in her right wrist. Speidel recently had wrist surgery to have the cyst removed and is back in action and ready for an even better sophomore season.

“It was there during high school, but I didn’t have severe pain where I couldn’t handle it,” Speidel said. “It probably would have grown and caused more pain. I would have had to be consistent with wrapping it. But I’m glad we got it out because it was growing in pain by the day.”

The cyst was growing between bones in Speidel’s right wrist. She had the surgery over Christmas break and was playing again within a couple of months.

“It didn’t take as long as I thought it would,” Speidel said. “I had to do some strengthening exercises, as far as bending it and things like that. It was more getting back my flexibility. Then I had to get my strength back after I got my mobility back.”

During her freshman year, Speidel had to wrap her wrist and and keep tape on it during practices and games.

“It didn’t hurt when I was hitting,” Speidel said. “It was more when I landed on it or when I would set. I’m pain-free now. I can set pain-free. I don’t have to wrap it.”

“I hope she is able to play more pain free,” IU-Kokomo coach Heather Hayes said. “I know it caused her a lot more aggravation during the season, but she is tough and played through it. This offseason, she was able to compete after her surgery, and she was able to perform pretty close to what she is capable of performing.”

Speidel had a monster freshman year. The 5-foot-9 outside hitter/right-side hitter led the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with the 520 kills and earning All-Region honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association.

“I was pleased with it,” Speidel said. “At the beginning I was surprised, but with with help from my teammates and coaches, they helped me a lot with getting to where I am.”

“I definitely in recruiting her knew she would be a dynamic player for us and a go-to player offensively for us,” Hayes said. “I knew she would make a pretty big splash. She definitely has all the physical tools to develop and, maybe before she graduates, to be an All-American eventually.”

As it turned out, Speidel’s wrist wasn’t the only thing that was hurting her last fall.

“She carried a lot of our offensive load last year,” Hayes said. “Her shoulder is very tired and sore, which is natural, so to help her out, we brought in a little bit of offense this season.”

The Cougars have eight new players joining the eight returning players from a team that went 28-11.

“I’m excited to see what next season brings,” Speidel said. “Coach has a lot of new freshmen coming in that are going to help the program, also. I think the girls from last season are ready to get back at it.”

An elementary education major, Speidel is hoping to become a teacher and possibly a volleyball coach. She stayed in Kokomo this summer and is working working at a group home with six to eight adults that suffer from special needs.

“I like it,” Speidel said. “It’s something new. It’s something I’m really excited about.”

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