After wrapping up her senior volleyball season at Eastern Kentucky, Sydney Schoen was looking for a college where she could earn a master’s degree and play a fifth year of college volleyball as a graduate transfer.
In evaluating colleges and master’s programs, all signs kept pointing in one direction — south Texas. The 2018 Hauser graduate committed last week to finish her collegiate career at University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.
“Whenever I was in the portal and getting recruited, I looked at schools that had master’s programs that I would like to do, and they also had a med school,” Schoen said. “So I talked to the coach (Todd Lowery), and it worked out. Since I knew what I wanted to do for my master’s it kind of narrowed down my decision.”
At UTRGV, Schoen plans to pursue a master’s of science in Bioethics and hopes to go to medical school her second year there.
“It’s a one-year program, so it kind of works out perfectly,” Schoen said. “I can do that master’s program while I play my fifth year. I thought this would be a really good use of a gap year, and Bioethics will be a good program because it will help me deal with the ethical issues in the medical field. They have a med school that I am really interested in, so if I got in, I would like to go there. That’s my main goal.”
Hauser graduate and Eastern Kentucky senior Sydney Schoen serves against Lipscomb Nov. 5, 2021 in Richmond, Ky.
Schoen currently is playing beach volleyball at Eastern Kentucky and will graduate the first week of May with a degree in exercise sports science with a concentration in pre-athletic training and pre-physical therapy and a minor in chemistry. The three-time Academic All-Ohio Valley Conference selection wants to pursue a career in orthopedics or sports medicine.
“I knew I wanted to go into something in the medical field,” Schoen said. “I want to work with athletes as much as possible. As I got into my undergraduate degree, I thought that this was something that I would like to do.”
Eastern Kentucky, which had been a member of the OVC, played its first season in the ASUN Conference last fall, and the Colonels qualified for the ASUN Tournament.
“It was awesome that we made the ASUN Tournament my senior year,” Schoen said. “We were playing our best volleyball toward the end of the season, and that’s one of the things you’re shooting for. That was a good experience.”
Schoen recorded 937 digs, 133 assists and 55 aces in 88 career matches at Eastern Kentucky. The libero led the Colonels in digs the past two seasons and in aces as a freshman.
“Sydney has grown a lot as a player at Eastern Kentucky,” Lowery said. “She has proven herself both as a great defender and passer, but also has been a proven leader both on the indoor and outdoor teams. She will add experience and depth to our libero position. We are super excited for Sydney to join us in the fall.”
UTRGV is coming off a 17-10 season and an NIVC Tournament appearance. The Vaqueros, who play in the Western Athletic Conference, made their only NCAA Division I Tournament appearance in 2016.
Schoen plans to leave for the Edinburg, Texas, school in July.
“I’ve loved EKU,” Schoen said. “I’m excited to play in a new conference against some different competition. I’m really excited about this master’s program that I’m doing, and I’m obviously excited to play for UTRGV this fall.”