VOLLEYBALL: Wade sets up future, signs with hometown Beavers

Emily Wade, center, signed her National Letter of Intent to the Bemidji State volleyball program on Wednesday at Bemidji High School. Surrounding her, from left, are BHS assistant coach Andy Sweet, father Jeff, mother Christine, and BHS head coach Alicia Kriens. (Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- The first bit of advice Emily Wade received during her signing ceremony on Wednesday came from her current head coach.

“Don’t beat my record,” Alicia Kriens told her, tongue in cheek.

Wade, a senior setter for the Bemidji High School volleyball team, will be following in Kriens’ footsteps and joining the Bemidji State volleyball program. She put pen to paper and signed her National Letter of Intent at BHS to make it official.

“It’s super helpful to have a coach who’s pretty much done what you’ve done throughout high school and college,” Wade said. “She’s been super helpful in helping me choose where I want to go. At practice she pushes me because she shows me up sometimes.”

Kriens ranks sixth all-time at BSU with 2,503 career set assists, and Wade will now challenge that mark over the next four years. But joking aside, Wade was thankful for the opportunity to continue representing her hometown community.


“I’m super excited that I’m staying here,” she said. “I wanted to be close to my family and stuff. I really like the town; I’ve grown up here my whole life. It feels great.”

Before she swaps Lumberjack blue for Beaver green, Wade is nearing a milestone of her own to cap her senior season. She currently has 995 set assists in her career, and she’ll soon become the program’s first player to hit 1,000 since Addie Colligan in 2017.

“It’s always been a big goal of mine to get 1,000 assists. I think it’s every setter’s dream,” Wade said. “It’s definitely a goal you can’t get without teammates because you have to give them a perfect ball, and it’s their job to put it away. … Getting this close has really meant a lot to me, and I’m just excited that I’ll get it next game.”

Throughout her BHS career, Wade has shown a knack for instincts on the court. She’s distributed assists all over the floor while surprising opponents with well placed dumps at just the right time.

She’ll now try to do the same for Bemidji State, a school that won her over because of its proximity and its people.

“I chose BSU because I want to be close to home and close to my family,” Wade said. “The coaches were great, and they’ve really supported me through everything. The team was great when I met them, and I just fell in love with the program.”

111420.S.BP.WADE Emily Wade celebration.jpg
Bemidji senior Emily Wade (7) celebrates after the Lumberjacks scored in a match Tuesday against Sartell-St. Stephen at Bemidji High School. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

Micah Friez is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he worked at the Pioneer from 2015-23 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing.
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