Wichita State Shockers

WSU notes: WSU volleyball player battles Cubs curse

Katy Dudzinski is a Chicago White Sox fan, so she knew the risks of heading to Wrigley Field, home of the hated Cubs, in July. She and her two brothers got great seats from a friend, so they went.

On the way, she stepped off a curb at a train station and broke her right foot, fifth metatarsal. With a loud pop, her freshman volleyball season ended before it started.

“I don’t like the Cubs,” she said. “It was, I guess, kind of karma going to that.”

Dudzinski, a right-side hitter from Elburn, Ill., is back on her feet. She practiced for the first time last week in WSU’s individual workouts. The foot feels good.

“It’s so fun,” she said. “Head over heels, awesome to get in there and actually be a part of it.”

She spent five months in a walking boot, prohibiting her from doing much other than lifting weights and hand-biking. Since being cleared to exercise, she tried to make up time quickly. She ran at home daily _ outside when weather permitted — over Christmas break.

“Lots of running,” she said. “It definitely made me crazy motivated to not let (the injury) affect more than it had to. I worked out really, really hard.”

WSU coach Chris Lamb expected Dudzinski to play significant minutes last season. After the injury, he described his feeling as “going to Disneyland and finding out half the rides are closed.”

He watched her practice on Friday for the first time since the injury.

“The ball was jumping off her hand,” he said. “She’s done a nice job keeping herself fit and strong. That doesn’t always happen with lower-body injuries.”

Dudzinski did get to enjoy those great seats at Wrigley Field. She limped to the game, with one brother worried about her painful steps and the other less sympathetic.

“I walked up the hill and went to the game,” she said. “I kind of didn’t want to think that I was hurt, because (practice) started in a week. I thought it was one of those where I could, literally, just walk it off.”

Huskers at home — Lamb said Nebraska’s visit this spring for an exhibition match is set.

Nebraska will play at Koch Arena on April 20, returning several trips the Shocker made to Nebraska for spring matches.

“I have a feeling some Husker fans will show up,” Lamb said.

Grading high — WSU leads the nation in baseball Academic All-Americans since 1982, according to its research. Twenty-seven Shockers made the grade since that time, 12 on the first team, as selected by CoSIDA, a group of sports information directors.

“That’s a source of great pride for the university,” WSU coach Gene Stephenson said. “That’s what we’re supposed to do — academics.”

Notre Dame is second with 25.

WSU pitchers Charlie Giaudrone (1992) and Mike Drumright (1995) earned National Academic Athlete of the Year honors. Among those who earned first-team honors were Kennie Steenstra, Casey Blake, Zach Sorensen and Rob Musgrave.