Iowa volleyball senior Edina Schmidt flourishing in new position

Ahead of the 2022 season, Schmidt moved from the left to the right side of the net.


Ayrton Breckenridge

Iowa outside hitter Edina Schmidt hits the ball during a volleyball match between Iowa and No. 4 Wisconsin at Xtream Arena on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. The Badgers defeated the Hawkeyes 3-0.

Kenna Roering, Sports Reporter

Germany native Edina Schmidt knew she would have big shoes to fill with her mother, Katrine, earning a spot on the German national volleyball team.

But Schmidt, an outside hitter for Iowa volleyball, did just that and more.

Before coming to the U.S., Schmidt racked up two German championships, six regional championships, five Berlin championships, and two MVP medals.

Now, Schmidt is playing in one of the most competitive volleyball conferences in the U.S. Entering the 2022 season, the NCAA ranked seven Big Ten Conference squads within the top 20, with 2021 national runner-up, Nebraska, sitting atop.

“I’m so lucky to get to play in the Big Ten and all that comes with it,” Schmidt said. “Volleyball is a lot bigger here, especially college sports because we don’t have that back home. We have the professional league and high school clubs, so to get this experience from 18-22 years old is awesome.”

Schmidt can’t profit off NIL deals because she is in the U.S. on a visa. But she is in favor of the opportunities it brings to student athletes.

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“That’s something I can’t control, so I’m not really upset about it,” Schmidt said. “I’m super excited for all my American teammates who get this opportunity. You put so much work in as a student athlete. You deserve to own your name.”

When Schmidt, one of four captains in 2022, first came to the U.S., she said she had trouble with the culture shock. But as she got used to the Midwestern dialect, she said she adapted well and settled into life in the U.S.

“As a little freshman I spoke English fine, but it was hard to adapt to the language on the court, the slang off the court, and the accent,” Schmidt said. “In school, we only learned proper British English.”

Schmidt has had no problems fitting in with her teammates, though, and she is particularly excited about what this year’s team can accomplish.

Iowa volleyball hired a new head coach, Jim Barnes, in December 2021. While multiple players from the Hawkeyes’ 2021 squad graduated or transferred following that season, Barnes brought in nine newcomers, including two freshmen and seven transfers, to round out the 2022 team.

“It honestly feels like [the nine newcomers] have been here forever,” Schmidt said. “We’ve been together all summer working hard to get this going. All of them are bringing great value to this team… It’s exciting to work with these young girls who still have the whole four years of their career.”

Barnes said for the small time he has been at Iowa, the players have been a joy to coach. He also praised Schmidt for her leadership and ability to jump in wherever the team needs her.

Schmidt played on the left side of the net in 2021, but she moved to the right side ahead of the 2022 season.

“Edina is one of those hungry players,” Barnes said. “We’ve changed positions for her and she’s jumped right into it … she’s now on the right side. I feel she’s playing better than she’s ever played.”

The 6-foot-3 outside hitter who recorded 79 kills in 2021 is hoping to increase that tally at her new position, but her mindset has always been to put the team first.

“It’s all about the team. Make the team a priority. Whatever the team needs, I’m ready to step up,” Schmidt said. “I trust the coaching staff. They have been so amazing turning this program around.”

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