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Nahachewsky leads, spikes for Lakehead

It is an understatement to say that Virden’s Megan Nahachewsky is making a big impact with the Lakehead University women’s volleyball team.

The daughter of Don and Tarin Nahachewsky leads the team in pounding down spikes. As well, the third-year student-athlete is counted on as a leader in many ways by her Thunder Bay-based school squad.

“Megan is one of our biggest leaders on the team,” interim head coach Brett Hagarty said. “She leads by example, which is very impactful for the younger players. On the court she is a 'workhorse.' She shows up to every practice with a great attitude and a willingness to improve and make those around her better. In games, her presence unifies and calms the team.

“Off the court, she is the driving force of our community engagement initiative, where she is organizing events with a local organization that works with people with dementia. Lastly, as a nursing student, she is dedicated, smart and passionate. She has the unique ability to lead by example academically due to these traits as well.

“As you can see, Megan is a leader in every aspect of her life here at Lakehead. I think it's just who she is.”

As a left-side hitter, Nahachewsky paced the Thunderwolves with an average of 1.53 kills per set, when the season was paused in early January due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She was second in points per set with 1.73.

“Megan is an effective attacker because she can do it all,” Hagarty said. “She has the ability to hit hard driven, use the block, and make smart off-speed shots. She is a small attacker in the (Ontario University Athletics) but she doesn't play like it. She is never afraid to keep swinging. Her relentlessness and tenacity make her one of our best attackers on the team.”

As well as scoring points, Nahachewsky helps her team in other ways on the court. She averaged 0.73 digs, 0.27 assists, and 0.13 service aces.

“Megan is also a stabilizing presence in our serve receive,” Hagarty said. “Her ability to pass a ball and transition to attack helps our team. Additionally, her ability to recover from errors and make great plays is what our team relies on.”

After having the 2020-2021 season wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic, Nahachewsky was excited to be back on the court this season. In an interview before January’s pause, she said:

“Being able to compete again after a year and a half off has been amazing. It really made me appreciate the sport 100 times more. I have enjoyed so many different things being back this season.

“One thing I enjoy the most are the girls and coaches I get to play with every day and constant memories being made. Another aspect I have enjoyed would be our home opener back in November. It was our first in-season game at home and the energy was electric from the team and the fans.”

In her first season with the Thunderwolves, Nahachewsky earned a spot on the OUA West All Rookie Team and was the winner of the team’s Coaches Award. Although the team was unable to play in her second year at Lakehead University, she did not rest on her laurels. Nahachewsky spent time focusing on her strength and ball handling skills.

“I believe my efforts throughout the past year have helped me increase my vertical this season as well as the velocity I can put behind a ball when attacking,” she said.

Nahachewsky also has worked hard on her nursing studies.

“It is extremely difficult to be able to juggle my course, 16-hour clinical weeks and fulltime volleyball but I love every minute of it,” she said. “I am very fortunate to have such a great support system that helps me balance all of it while still being successful.” 

Throughout her volleyball career, Nahachewsky has had the backing of her parents.

“From the long car rides to games and practices and the post/pre-games pep talks, they have supported me through it all,” she said. “My sister, Taylor, has also been a huge supporter as she used to play. She always makes sure to share her insight with me after the games.

“It's not just for volleyball. I get consistent support from them no matter the situation. I have also learned so much from them throughout the years and probably wouldn’t be the person I am without them.”

Another person who influenced Nahachewsky’s volleyball career is long-time Virden coach Stephen Densmore.

“He has made a huge impact on my volleyball career with all his encouragement and support throughout the years,” she said. “He would always be around for extra reps no matter the skill or time. I have also been very fortunate to have played under many great coaches that have helped shape me to the player I am today.”