Former Wisconsin Badger middle blocker Haleigh Nelson will be extending her college career as she has signed to play beach volleyball for LSU. Nelson, a two-time AVCA All-American, said she was beginning her search for a job when she started to think of a backup plan.
As the story goes, after Nelson emailed a potential future employer, she decided to also email multiple schools that had beach volleyball teams. Since she was previously an indoor player, Nelson was unsure if schools would show any interest in a player making the switch to beach. “I’ve really enjoyed playing indoor and we’ve had success over the years, but I didn’t know how important it was that I never really played beach competitively. A few of them got back to me and I went from there.”
LSU, being one of the few schools that got back to Nelson, has a graduate program that interested Nelson. “LSU was one of the few schools where I could get my MBA straight out of undergrad. Their grad program is a two-year program, which is better for me because I’ll only be playing beach for one year and then I’ll have that second year to get some experience and really work on where I want to fall in the job market.”
Since the NCAA considers beach volleyball a different sport than indoor, Nelson will have one year of eligibility. She will be joining a successful program in that of LSU’s, which began in 2014. Each year LSU’s team has gradually improved, with the 2017 season being the most successful one yet. They finished the season with a 27-8 record, which earned them a berth in the NCAA tournament. After falling in the tournament, LSU finished the season ranked #6.