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“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”

-Romans 8:1

 

Growing up just outside of Lincoln, Nebraska, Annika Evans has become a Husker favorite as she has become an important piece of one of the best volleyball teams in the country. A sophomore setter, Evans has already earned praise throughout her time at Nebraska not only for her skills on the court, but for her hard work, leadership, and service away from it as well. As she helps lead Nebraska in the 2021 season towards what they hope is a long run in the tournament, she is grounded by a foundation of faith.

From Waverly, about a 20 minute drive from the heart of Lincoln, Evans was a star setter for her high school team. Earning accolades that included 3,294 assists, two state semi-final appearances and two all-state honorable mentions, Huskers coach John Cook was thrilled to add Evans to his already talented recruiting class. Seeing action in nine matches during her freshman year, Evans credits her performance on the floor to her faith.

Nebraska setter Anni Evans vs Ohio State
An important part of her life growing up, she says her relationship with God has continued to grow since joining Nebraska. “Growing up I always went to church and it was something that I was around often. Coming to college I think I have started to go deeper into my faith and not just be a church go-er, but work to be a Christ follower.”

Anni has only seen her role continue to grow in the 2021 season, a campaign where the Huskers have started 10-0 in Big Ten conference play and find themselves ranked in the top ten. Evans says, however, that her faith reminds her of what is most important regardless of how she does on the volleyball court.

“I know that no matter my performance on the court He will still love me and my identity is in Him and not anything else. Knowing that I can be secure in Him has helped me have more belief in myself on the court as I no longer put my value on how I perform and I am able to play more freely.”

Playing free has paid dividends for Evans, who has garnered attention from fans and teammates as she embraces her role and looks to inspire others.

Nebraska setter Anni Evans vs Minnesota
Evans says that throughout her time in volleyball, her faith has been a constant amidst a number of ups and downs. She says it is a reminder to not put her identity in a scoresheet but instead in who God says she is.

“I remember that volleyball is a temporary thing I love, but His love is eternal. Putting my identity in Him and being secure in that transfers to the court knowing however I perform He loves me and that doesn’t change no matter my court performance.”

Although the results to this point have been very friendly for Annika, she says that being surrounded by great teammates, coaches, and supporters have helped keep her focused on using her gifts to make a difference on everyone watching.

As the Huskers continue in Big Ten play and approach the end of the year, Evans says she hopes to continue to use her gifts to inspire and encourage others throughout the game. Grateful for the chance to play the game she loves right outside where she grew up, everytime she puts on the Nebraska jersey she reminds herself that it is an opportunity to point others to Him and to always play for an audience of One.

 

Ethan Kruse

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