Remmers: Ovation at Devaney was a special moment
Carley Remmers received a home-state welcome from a crowd of about 5,000 fans when the Ohio volleyball team played an afternoon match against Nebraska earlier this season in Lincoln.
No surprise there. Nebraska fans always warmly welcome back Nebraska natives and former Huskers. On that day, though, most fans probably didn’t know Remmers’ story, and why that moment meant so much to her.
Remmers is from Filley, a town of about 150 people near Beatrice. She attended high school at Freeman, and helped her school win the Class C-2 state volleyball championship as a senior.
This is her fourth season with the Bobcats, and also the last for the redshirt junior. Her college career has had some bright spots — there was a 13-kill match against Oklahoma last year — but she’s also been robbed of a lot of time due to injuries. And now, after recently having a second back surgery, she’s made the decision to medically retire. The chronic pain was too much. She’ll graduate in May, and is considering getting into coaching.
Her playing career ending early is part of what made what happened in Lincoln on Aug. 31 so special.
Remmers had returned to Nebraska to prepare for the surgery before the Bobcats played in a tournament in Lincoln. She was planning to be at the match against Nebraska, but wouldn’t be in uniform. But some of her family had never seen her in a college match, and asked her to at least wear her jersey. It turns out her teammates had plans to do better than that.
“I was like, ‘Sure, I’ll have my teammates just bring my jersey,’” Remmers said. “And then we were in the locker room and my teammates actually brought my shoes. And they were like, ‘Well, you might as well put on some knee pads so you look the whole part.’”
Then coach Deane Webb told Remmers she was going to be in the starting lineup, which allowed her name to be introduced to the crowd. A teammate, Lizzie Stephens, gave up her spot. That’s when the emotion of the moment took over.
“It was happy tears, and also some sad tears, just because of my story. It was a bittersweet day,” Remmers said.
During the starting lineups Remmers was introduced — a 6-foot junior from Filley, Nebraska — to loud cheers. Then Nebraska coach John Cook left his spot on the bench and gave Remmers a souvenir volleyball, and a hug. Almost instantly Remmers’ teammates cried, and then she did, too. She subbed out of the match before the first rally.
Remmers had made the decision a few weeks earlier that she was done playing, but it wasn’t official yet.
“So that game was my last game actually putting on the jersey, and it was my last game being announced in front of people,” Remmers said. “So it was really special to be announced in front of my family, and my home state.”
A journalist from KLKN captured Remmers being announced to the crowd on video, and posted it on social media. That video has been shared about 800 times — including by Remmers’ idol, Jordan Larson — and has 117,000 views.
Remmers shared the video on her Twitter account. She wrote that the little girl who grew up on Nebraska volleyball had her dream come true that day.
“When I was a little kid it was a dream to be a Husker, but sometimes those dreams don’t happen, but other dreams fall in place,” Remmers said. “The dream of being a Division I volleyball athlete did come true, and being a Bobcat is more than I could ask for. I didn’t get to play on the court, but just being able to be announced in that starting lineup, and having the warm welcome of the crowd and so many family and friends there supporting me, was a dream come true.”