Aspyn Peterson says NDSCS is 'the right fit' for school, volleyball
Aspyn Peterson, a senior a Jamestown High School, recently committed to the North Dakota State College of Science volleyball program.
JAMESTOWN — Back in November, Aspyn Peterson thought she was done playing competitive volleyball.
Leave it to her younger sister, Jetta, to change her mind.
"I thought I just wanted to focus on my schooling," said Peterson, a senior at Jamestown High School. "I changed my mind because I would always get jealous of Jetta who is currently going to practices and tournaments for JO (Junior Olympic) volleyball."
Peterson officially committed and signed to play collegiate-level volleyball at North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) a couple of weeks ago. She is the third member of the 2022 Jamestown High School volleyball team to sign to compete at the next level. Seniors Haylie Hakanson and Bernadette Newman committed to continuing their careers at the University of Jamestown.
Peterson's was a name that was thrown out by a handful of collegiate-level coaches this last fall. The first-year Blue Jay libero spent three seasons in the back row for the Jays and played club volleyball during the offseason which primed her as one of the best defensive specialists in the West Region — and potentially the state.
Peterson ended her time as a Blue Jay with an incredible 832 digs, 66 aces and 16 assists. Just this last fall, as a first-year libero, Peterson notched 39 aces, 10 assists and 596 digs. She averaged 24.8 digs per match and put up at least one ace in every game she played.
Peterson helped the Blue Jays to an incredible 17-3 conference and 33-7 overall record. The Jays were 6-1 in five-set matches and earned the No. 2 seed out of the West Region. Her defensive efforts in the back half of the court helped lead the Jays to their first state tournament since the 2020 season.
Jamestown ended its season as the No. 3 team in the state, topping Legacy 16-25, 25-27, 25-18, 15-25, 15-11 in the Class A state tournament. The finish is the best the program has seen since the Blue Jays were named state runners-up in 2017.
Still — she wasn't sure she wanted to commit herself to another year of training.
"Just because someone thinks you should do something doesn't mean you have to," Peterson said. "With my experience, I didn't want to play college volleyball at first because it was everyone else's idea for me and not my own. But when people stopped telling me what they wanted me to do I found myself wanting to play again."
But since no one really knew she wanted to play, it took some work on Peterson's part to get a final offer from a collegiate program.
"I reached out first," Peterson said. "I told Sara Hegerle that I had an idea that I would possibly want to play (at NDSCS) and she helped me so much and talked to the coach for me."
NDSCS head volleyball coach Jane Passa couldn't have been more excited to receive contact from Hegerle and after talking with the 10-year head Blue Jay coach Passa got in contact with Peterson and from there, all the pieces began falling into place.
"We are thrilled to have Aspyn join the Wildcat family," Passa told the Jamestown Sun in an email. "She will bring defense and quickness to our team which will help us be successful and reach our goals of making the National Tournament Aspyn will just keep developing as a player as she is just starting to scratch the surface of her potential as a DS and or a libero.
"Coming from the Jamestown High School volleyball program she understands winning and will also be a great teammate as her high school program promotes teamwork and success," she said.
The Wildcats finished the 2022 season with a record of 22-7 and 10-2 in the Mon-Dak Conference. Its roster boasts stars like Rose Wendel of LaMoure/LM, Laura Green of West Fargo, Glenburn grad McKenna Rolland, Drake-Anamoose alum Riley Hauff and West Fargo's Maddie McKinnon.
"NDSCS has a good program and nice campus," Peterson said. "They also have a dental hygiene program that I want to pursue. What makes me a good fit for this team is my passion for volleyball and my constant wanting to be better and succeed as a teammate and player. I felt super excited and happy when I officially committed."