It was a dream come true for Michelle Grider.
“I’ve always wanted to play college volleyball,” Grider said. “Ever since I was a little girl.”
She’ll get that chance in the 2016 season as Grider, senior at Indian Lake High School, recently committed to play volleyball for St. Joseph’s College, a small (1,100 enrollment), Catholic, liberal arts college in Rensselaer, Indiana. The St. Joseph’s Pumas play in the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC).
Playing at the collegiate level may be Grider’s dream, but this is no fairy tale. She earned her shot at Div. II college volleyball with her marvelous play on the court. An All-Central Buckeye Conference First Team player, Grider was second in the the 12-team league in blocks this past season with 78. She was at or near the top of the CBC’s Mad River Division in kills (294), kills per game (4), aces (49), and serving percentage (.866).
Grider also excels in the classroom as a member of the National Honor Society and currently holds a GPA of 3.95, which would have been a 4.0 except for an A minus in a pre-calculus class. The admissions department at St Joseph’s didn’t let that .05 bother them overmuch as along with an athletic scholarship, Grider picked up academic scholarships for her exceptional work in the classroom, which when combined should defray most of her tuition costs.
Grider knows that putting on the Cardinal and Purple of the St. Joseph’s Pumas is a huge step up in class.
“College volleyball is much faster paced,” Grider said. “There is a lot less room for error.”
Several other colleges showed interest in Grider, and she visited a few, but in the end she said that St. Joseph’s beautiful architecture and bucolic setting is what sold her on becoming a Puma.
Grider may be putting her talents to use at St. Joseph’s as soon as she gets there as the Pumas went 8-21 overall this past season and finished seventh in an eight team division with a 3-15 record.
Grider said that she is planning to study elementary education at St. Joseph’s.
Tom Stephens is a regular contributor to this newspaper.