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Nashville Senior Signs with Cumberland University

For four years, Hazel Konkel has showcased her volleyball talents as a Nashville Hornette with hopes to continue her career in life after high school. On Tuesday, those dreams became a reality when she signed her letter of intent to play volleyball at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee. Although it is roughly four and a half hours away from her hometown of Nashville, Illinois, there will not be one far away as her new stomping grounds are about a half hour east of Nashville, Tennessee. Although in different states, Konkel explained her decision was in large part based off of the familiarity in comparison to her time as a Hornette.
“When I went there in September, it was smaller and just felt like a home away from home,” said Konkel.
Along with playing volleyball in the fall, Konkel also participated in swimming. Equally as successful in both sports, it made for a difficult decision for the future.
“It was definitely a hard decision, after my freshman and sophomore year it was going to be swimming, but after COVID, that’s when I decided volleyball was the way to go,” she said. “Early on in high school swimming what was she wanted to go with, but as her volleyball career went on she changed her mind and was able to see what she was able to do on the volleyball floor and carried a new love for that,” said Coach Konkel.
While making the transition to Cumberland in the fall, Konkel expects her biggest adjustment will be getting used to not being around her family. Throughout her four years at Nashville, she has had her father, Josh Konkel, as her coach as well as being teammates with her two younger sisters, Scarlett and Rosie. Her father first got her into volleyball when she was eight years old.
“It’s been the best thing ever, he’s the one that got me into volleyball so playing for him has been the best thing ever,” she said. Josh Konkel added, “it’s been a long time coming, I’m just super proud of her has a player and my daughter, I’m beaming with pride today.”
Her goal at the next level is to get quicker and learn how to connect with her new setters.
“Her striving for perfection, always trying to improve. For her, good has never been good enough, so I think all of those qualities are going to allow her to excel at the next level,” said Josh Konkel.
Her favorite memories over the years include her freshman season when the team advanced to the State Tournament as well as playing alongside her friends and in front of her family.
“It’s always good to see a player go on and play at the next level, this one is just extra special being my own daughter and watching her grow as a player, but it’s time to pass her on to a new coach and see what she can learn at the next level and continue to watch her career as it grows,” said Coach Konkel.
Konkel plans to play club volleyball during the summer as well as host her own friends at her home court. While at Cumberland, she plans to major in exercise science as well as possibly athletic training.

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