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Signing Day: Early commitment to Notre Dame pays off for Pine Creek's Collins
In May, incoming Pine Creek senior Simmone Collins tore the ACL in her left knee when she landed awkwardly on a teammate during a club tournament in Spokane, Wash. She missed her entire senior season, and her college hopes hinged on a verbal commitment she made last year with Notre Dame.
Meanwhile, a knee injury suffered by fellow Eagles senior Tiegen Skains in spring prevented her from playing at 100 percent this season. That perhaps scared off potential suitors and forced her to depend on film and past accomplishments as selling points.
In both cases, a happy ending was realized. Notre Dame stuck with Collins, while Skains signed with Concordia-Nebraska.
“They’ve had a lot of athletes undergo this kind of injury, and they remained behind me 100 percent,” said Collins, a 6-foot middle blocker who earned first-team all-Metro League honors as a junior. “They had confidence in me that I can return to full strength and I can’t wait to go there and do some damage on the court.”
Skains, a 5-11 outside hitter, played out of position last season as a middle blocker yet led the conference in kills per game.
“The knee injury made it hard with recruitment,” Skains said. “I started this about a year ago but got hurt in club in March. I got to play my whole senior season and have my family and friends to thank.”
As a junior, Collins visited the hallowed South Bend, Ind., campus and said the atmosphere definitely lived up to the hype. Then a Notre Dame-Stanford football game capped the experience.
“That was a surreal experience in itself,” Collins said. “I know it’s super cheesy about saying that you just know when it’s right, but it’s true. I love that school and cannot wait to go there.”
Unlike Collins, Skains had not verbally committed as a junior but attracted the attention of a team that plays in what Pine Creek coach Rick Mischka calls “one of the toughest D2 conferences in the country.”
“What helped me was film with previous stuff, and assuring them with my recovery,” Skains said. “Concordia is only 7 hours away, so it’s not that far away. I’m just happy for the opportunity.”