Adkins signs for Skylights volleyball

Alastair Baker
News Editor
Thursday, January 7, 2021
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Emily Adkins, second left, gets ready to sign for the Skylights. With her, left to right, dad, Vern Adkins, sister Jessica Adkins and mom, Lorie Adkins. Courtesy photo

Emily Adkins of Bridger has signed with Montana State Northern Skylights volleyball team.
The 5-11 setter/outside hitter Bridger High School senior said she is “excited” to join the Havre outfit as she looks towards her future.
“I am excited to finally have a plan for college, especially because I get to extend my career in volleyball,” said Adkins. “I’m ready to play the next level with the Skylights and hopefully help in achieving Coach (Jerry) Wagner’s goal of an improved and stronger program throughout my four years.” 
Adkins chose Havre because of Wagner and the girls on the team.
“I see myself creating lifelong bonds with the people there. I related a lot to Jerry’s coaching style and what he stands for so it just felt like a perfect fit,” she said.
Head Volleyball Coach Jerry Wagner couldn’t agree more and signed her because he has been “ very impressed with her focus, drive and determination” when he has had the opportunity to see her play.
“This was apparent from the second she and her teammates walked into the gym. From what I could witness, Emily may wake up and go to sleep at night in this same manner…in fact, the only time I’ve seen Emily smile was after winning the championship at the Divisional Tournament, winning the State Tournament and when she signed with our program! Emily is unflappable,” said Coach Wagner.
“In my almost 36 years of being involved with volleyball in Montana as a High School coach, High School official, University coach and a recruiter, I’ve always prided myself in knowing who the talented volleyball players are throughout the State of Montana.  Emily Adkins is certainly amongst the most talented volleyball players in the State this season, and in my opinion, she is at the top of that list,” he said.
Coach Wagner certainly sees her helping the Havre program.
“Emily brings the ability to play multiple positions for the Skylights from her highly successful experiences both as a setter and hitter while at Bridger High School,” he said.  “She has developed an enormous amount of court savvy over the years by playing these roles on the court. Outside of her physical talent, she brings personal traits that will help our program grow. Because of the outstanding way she was coached, she has pride and loyalty instilled in her, which will positively affect our program.” 
Adkins has dreamed of such an opportunity all her life.
“When I was a freshman, coming into high school I wanted to be the girl that made others work harder for their spot and at practice, but also because I wanted to fill the last starting spot,” she said. “I’ve loved and played volleyball for a long time so throughout the years so I know how much of me is required to be successful. I’ve been recognized as a good athlete, but everyday I want to be better than the day before and I think there is always room for improvement. Therefore, for the Skylights I hope to be a leader and push the others girl to work hard, just as they will for me. I want to be the same person on the court for the Skylights as I was for the Scouts because at the end of the day, we are just playing volleyball which is my favorite thing to do.”
“Emily is an unusual player. I honestly cannot recall a player as well rounded as her in Montana,” added Bridger volleyball coach Lena Kallevig.

“She dominates the match in every position she plays which is quite a few. She started as our first outside hitter because she leads us in kills, then two rotations in she play a rotation in the middle, when she is in the back she is a setter,” said Coach Kallevig. 
“When she decided to play college we had to figure out which position she would do best in. Jerry from Northern isn’t going to make her choose as it turns out. She will probably end up in all the same role she had with us. Emily will be an asset to the Northern program,” she said.
It’s a big move from Bridger to Havre, some 5 hours driving and 300 miles, but Coach Wagner is confident he can help Adkins settled in.
“The best way I as a coach can help Emily integrate into our team is to assure her that we will “be a team” on my watch and that she will be with “like minded” teammates that share a common goal of striving to be the best they can be.  Academically, Emily is an outstanding student and seeks a degree here at MSUN that we can and will accommodate. Emily has already met some of her new teammates in person, and some virtual or by phone. I also have several other highly talented players from Billings and the Billings area currently on the team that find Havre a place they can flourish academically and athletically,” said Coach Wagner.
While at Bridger Adkins won many trophies; 4 straight Divisionals and District titles, and the Class C State last season. She has also been named All-Conference four times.
“As a player for Bridger we saw her go from playing mostly the setter position her first two years to being our top hitter junior and senior year. She became a player everyone looked to for guidance and leadership,” said Coach Kallevig.