Not long before she graduated from Miami Trace High School, Olivia Fliehman signed a letter of intent to attend Shawnee State University in Portsmouth.
While there, Fliehman will continue her volleyball career and her education.
“It was kind of like a weird connection and then I started talking with the coach,” Fliehman said. “I sent her some film and we just really connected. Her team philosophy and the way she coaches, it’s just a lot of the same mindset that I have. We really clicked well when I started talking to her about things.
“I got to go to a practice and meet my teammates and I really liked them,” Fliehman said. “Things just started falling into place really well and I feel like that’s what sold me on it. There were no cons, everything was pros and I just really liked everything.”
Fliehman said that she has been accepted into Shawnee State’s nursing program.
What about a favorite subject in high school?
“I would say probably my English classes and my speech classes, probably in part from having Mrs. (Shari) West for three years in a row, just learning so much and getting to know her well,” Fliehman said. “Just having a wide variety of English classes that I’ve been able to take, I really liked having her class. I loved her teaching style.”
“Definitely, first off, my parents, Tracy and Julie,” Fliehman said. “Then, everyone in my family who has supported me; my grandparents, Ken and Ginger Fliehman.
“Definitely a huge shout out to coach Mace,” Fliehman said. “Just for the last four years, for building me up and putting me on the path that made me able to play for the next four years.
“And, all the coaches, club coaches, anyone who has supported me in my weight training, my conditioning,” Fliehman said. “Even my academics. They’ve always been real open to making sure I was able to get school work done to help get scholarships. They worked really well — all my teachers did.”
Being on her own
“I’m just excited because I do get to go out on my own,” Fliehman said. “The good thing is, with first-year athletes at Shawnee, they have all of them live together, so, I’ll be living with other first-year athletes. We’re kind of all in the same appartment building. Even though I will be on my own, I’ll have my team and my coach, who has such a huge heart, I’m just excited to be with her, too. They’ll be ready to help me if I ever need anything.
“I’m really glad I came to Trace,” Fliehman said. “I’ve loved all my time I’ve spent here. I moved here in the seventh grade, so the past five, six years I’ve spent here. All the friendships I’ve made with people I’ve met, they are all just a bunch of really good people. All the teachers and coaches I’ve met are just so supportive of me and my family and everything that I’ve done.
“I feel like Miami Trace opened up a lot of oppourtunities for me that I wouldn’t have had at other places,” Fliehman said. “So, I’m really thankful for that.”
“What can I say about Olivia,” Miami Trace head coach Doug Mace said. “Her four years here at Miami Trace is when our team really made a big transition. We were pretty good, as far as placing second or third in the league as we were coming up. In her last two years here, we won the league championship (in 2020) and tied for the league championship her junior year.
“She helped us change our culture,” Mace said. “That next step to creating a culture where the kids believe in our program. We want to look at winning and being successful. Olivia helped bring that culture into focus. She eventually helped lead the kids to believeing in our program and buying into what we are wanting to do.
“Last year’s record of 18-2, winning the league championship going undefeated, we also won a Sectional championship, so, we accomplished some things that had not been done for a long time,” Mace said. “In the case of winning the league championship outright, that was the first time in 40-some years for Miami Trace in volleyball.
“Probably one of the greatest attributes Olivia brought was her ability to make all of the players around her better,” Mace said. “To me, that’s a trait that is not taught. It’s something that stems from within. In all of the years I’ve coached, I’ve only had a handful of young women that I’ve watched lift their teams and accomplish such things. Olivia has just done an awesome job with our program.
“I think going to Shawnee is going to be a really nice fit for Olivia,” Mace said. “She’s going to a nice school and she’s going to be able to go there and contribute early on, I feel. She should have a terrific career there. I don’t believe she’s yet reached the potential I think she has from just the four years we were together at the high school.
“She’s very good now, but, I think she has the potential to become so much better,” Mace said. “It’ll be fun to watch what happens through her college career and see how she grows, not only as a volleyball player, but as a young woman. I think her future is very bright.”