The Petron Blaze Spikers can start to plan beyond the PSL All Filipino Conference 2018 with former import Stephanie Niemer rejoining the squad for next year’s PSL Grand Prix.
The eight-year volleyball pro made the announcement on her Instagram account. However, the 2010 NCAA Big East Player of the Year also hinted that she is at the back end of her career with hashtags “#swansong” and “#retirementplan”.
The entire caption on her post reads:
“As a 21 year old, I told myself (and most people) I’ll play professionally for a year—just try it out…HA! Here I am, 29 years old and STILL playing the sport that has given me so much! When it comes to volleyball, I’m not sure what my word means these days, but I believe it’s time for the #swansong 🏐🇵🇭 In January, I’ll make my way back to the Philippines to play for #Petron 💪🏽I’m excited to get back to playing in front of the best fans with some of my favorites! Same country, same team, different result 🙏🏽🏆 #oldpro #retirementplan#petronblazespikers #2019season#10thseason #8thyear #philippines”
This doesn’t mean though that the 2007 US NCAA Big East Freshman of the Year is running out of fuel. She just won the A1 Ethniki Women’s Volleyball title and the CEV Women’s Challenge Cup with Olimpiacos S.F. Piraeus this year and the Puerto Rico Volleyball Championship with Criollas de Caguas last year.
Niemer first played in the PSL during the 2016 PSL Grand Prix wherein she garnered 1st Best Outside Spiker while teaming up with fellow American Serena Warner. They led the then-Petron Tri-Activ Spikers to a runner-up finish to the Foton Tornadoes Blue Energy which had Lindsey Stalzer and Ariel Usher as imports. Current Petron players Rhea Dimaculangan and Cherry Ann Rondina were also part of the Foton championship squad.
Niemer started her professional volleyball career with Indias de Mayaguez, Orientales de Humacao, and Gigantes de Carolina in Puerto Rico. Her volleyball journey brought her next to Frans where she played for ASPTT Mulhouse. The former University of Cincinnati Bearcat’s then joined Azeryol Baku for the 2015-2016 Azerbaijan Super League Season wherein she was hailed as Best Outside Hitter.
After which, Niemer had another tour of duty with Gigantes de Carolina before suiting up for Petron. The 6′ 1″ wing spiker from Kentucky also played for PSL – F2 Logistics during the 2016 FIVB Club World Championship in Manila. She also joined the West Virginia University Mountaineers as a volunteer assistant in July 2018.
As for expectations on her return duty, she summarized it with “same country, same team, different result”. Thus, she would want nothing less of a title this time around.