Charley cheer cheers for her decision to go to old Notre Dame

  • Written by Anthony Nasella


Photo by Jeff Vorva

Charley Niego is just a sophomore but already made her college choice, giving a verbal commitment to Notre Dame.


Despite being a sophomore, Charley Niego put together a noteworthy season for the Mother McAuley volleyball team and on the travel circuit with Michio over the years that colleges have taken notice.

Niego’s collegiate future is now in place after she verbally committed this past week to Notre Dame. She will not be able to officially sign, however, until she is a senior.

“Charley really didn’t have set college in mind at first,” Might Macs head coach Jen DeJarld said. “Then the recruiting process started this past summer, and Notre Dame came forward with a scholarship offer back in October.

“She took some time to make her decision, but she gave her verbal commitment to Notre Dame. She’s very excited about her future, and we’re excited about her next two years at Mother McAuley and her becoming a true leader in all areas.”

A year ago, the South Bend school wasn’t even on the sophomore’s radar; however, circumstances helped her change her mind.

“When I started getting recruited and noticed last year, Notre Dame wasn’t even an option much as less a future college,” Niego said. “I was thinking more about a Big 10 school. Then the process went on, which was stressful, and I was feeling a lot of pressure from coaches. That knocked a lot of schools of the list.”

In contrast, Niego said she was drawn by the hands-off approach of Notre Dame.

“At that point, Notre Dame was now on my list, and they were interested in me,” she said. “I visited and really liked the campus. I got to know the school and definitely got interested. They gave me an opportunity, and I took it.

“There was pressure or time frame to commit. The coaches were really understanding, which made the decision pretty easy.”

Niego’s will become the third McAuley volleyball player to choose Notre Dame. The First was Megan Dunne, who played in the late 2000’s and the most recent was Ryann DeJarld, who helped the Mighty Macs to a state championship in 2013.

Notre Dame, however, is struggling. The Irish went 7-25 ovetrall and 2-18 in the Atlantic Coast Conference in Jim McLaughlin’s first year at the helm. McLaughlin has won national championships with USC’s men’s team and the University of Washington’s women’s team.

One of the McAuley’s top kill and block leaders, Niego said she gained valuable experience by star players Kayla Caffey and Jane DeJarld and said she looking forward assuming a greater leadership role next season.

“I learned so much from them,” she said. “They never treated me like a sophomore but more like one their sisters. I really looked up to them, and now I have the opportunity to fill the role that they carried out so well this season.

“They taught me a lot and pushed me to be the best player I could be, and my sophomore year was exceeded all my expectations. I’m so excited about next season and what’s ahead.”

Photo by Jeff Vorva

Charley Niego is just a sophomore but already made her college choice, giving a verbal commitment to Notre Dame.