Warner signs with Linfield

After receiving first-team all-league honors as a senior, McNary senior Zoie Warner will be continuing her career at Linfield (File).

Zoie Warner has excelled with the McNary volleyball program for the last three seasons. Now, she is taking her talents to the next level.

After receiving first-team all-league recognition during the 2019 season, Warner officially signed with Linfield University to continue her academic and athletic career. 

Warner plans on majoring in nursing at Linfield. 

“It’s always been a goal of mine to play college volleyball, so I am really excited to get the opportunity to play at Linfield,” Warner said. “It’s a very close-knit community, so that was a big draw for me.”

For Warner, one of the other appeals of playing at Linfield was that she would get to re-connect with a pair of her old teammates from McNary.

Warner played with Sophia Zielinski and Kara Thomas at McNary in 2017 and 2018. Zielinski and Thomas each signed with Linfield after their senior seasons and the three players look to be reunited on the court this fall.

“The three of us really clicked when we played together at McNary and I can’t wait to play with Kara and Sophia in college,” Warner said.

Warner was one of the most versatile players in the Mountain Valley Conference last season. Not only did she lead the Celtics with 201 kills, she also had 183 digs and was named McNary’s top defensive player.

Whatever position Warner plays at the next level, her high school coach believes that she will succeed.

“The great thing about Zoie is that she is easy to coach because she is a sponge and she takes on new info very easily. Whatever the coach expects, she will take it on because she knows how to play every role,” McNary head coach Crystal DeMello said. “She is one of the most level-headed players I have ever coached. She thrives in challenging situations and was the heartbeat of our team.”

When Warner came in as a freshman at McNay, she swung between the JV and varsity team. She then became a starter on the varsity squad the following season and even earned an honorable mention nod. 

Warner also got honorable mention recognition as a junior in 2018, but felt that she had been slighted, which gave her more motivation to work harder going into her final season with the Celtics. Warner wound up gaining first-team status her senior season and led McNary to the playoffs after just missing the postseason the year prior. 

“I felt like it was my last time to shine. I was bummed I didn’t get better than honorable mention my junior year, so I wanted to work extra hard to get first-team as a senior,” Warner said.

Warner credits much of her development to DeMello and the relationship they have been able to foster over the last three years.

“(DeMello) had a lot of trust in me and she pushed me to be better. She went above and beyond to be more than just a coach,” Warner said. “She is someone I could really rely on,” Warner said.

Under normal circumstances, Warner would be playing her final season of club volleyball this spring with North Pacific Juniors Volleyball Club. Unfortunately, the spread of COVID-19 has shut down all competition.

With the current state of the coronavirus crisis, it’s unknown at this point if there will be a fall sports season at colleges and universities. But no matter what ends up happening, Warner is looking forward to her career at Linfield. 

“I hope to see time on the court as a freshman, but my main goal is to keep getting better and to keep having fun playing the game that I love,” Warner said.