Veerbeek has career year leading Dordt to NAIA women’s championship game

GPAC MVP enjoyed her return to Northwest Iowa after starting with Huskers
Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 11:54 PM CDT
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SIOUX CENTER, IA (Dakota News Now) -It didn’t take long for Ashtyn Veerbeek to develop her fiery passion and drive to win.

It practically came from birth as the daughter of Western Christian volleyball coaching legend Tammi. “She’s just taught me so much about sports and leadership and just life. She’s my biggest role model and so, yeah, a lot of the stuff that I carry with me today came from her.” Ashtyn says.

Though she played for her mom, Ashtyn’s true love would become basketball. She scored more than 1800 career points, pulled down more than 1,000 career rebounds and led Western Christian to a state title before heading to Nebraska.

Though she played in 59 games over two years for the Huskers, home tugged at her heart. “I wouldn’t trade those two years for anything. I learned a lot about myself and had a lot of good experiences there. I just, at the end of the day, when I’d come down to visit Dordt I really just missed the family atmosphere and the culture that they have here.” Veerbeek says.

Coming back meant taking on a bigger role. “From being just a role player that really didn’t dribble much and found myself in the low post most of the time to now having to handle the ball and make a lot of decisions.” Veerbeek says.

“She’s very versatile in what she can do. She draws a lot of attention from other teams so yeah, we can play off her pretty well.” Dordt Head Coach Bill Harmsen says.

One that Ashtyn flourished in, scoring more than a thousand career points in two years, winning GPAC player of the year this season en route to leading the Defenders to the national championship game.

“She’s a great player but she’s an even better person. So that’s what makes it fun to play with her and getting in a groove with her. Playing with her is awesome.” Dordt Junior Forward Karly Gustafson says.

Though Dordt didn’t win the title a banner alone can’t measure her impact on the program. “The wins were obviously so cool and fun but I’ll remember all the times that we had in the hotel room, in the locker room, going to the commons to eat together. Just all those little things that people don’t always associate with basketball but those are the things that really brought us together.” Ashtyn says. And it’s impact on her.

Zach Borg, Dakota News Now Sports.

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