Blauser, Green find com­mon ground

Cen­tex player of the year and Drip­ping Springs star head to Cincin­nati.

Austin American-Statesman - - C SPORTS - rcantu@states­


Mal­lory Blauser and Shelby Green took dif­fer­ent paths to one day play­ing vol­ley­ball to­gether at the Univer­sity of Cincin­nati.

Blauser be­came a three­sport star at Round Rock Chris­tian Academy, a pri­vate prep school with a to­tal of 21 se­niors, in­clud­ing her. Green earned all-state hon­ors in vol­ley­ball each of the past two years at Class 4A Drip­ping Springs, which has an en­roll­ment of roughly 1,300 stu­dents.

Next year, though, Blauser and Green will be team­mates with the Bearcats, trans­ported to Ohio by a Cincin­nati re­cruit­ing pipe­line that stretches 1,250 miles to Cen­tral Texas, a fer­tile ground for find­ing tal­ented high school vol­ley­ball play­ers. In Blauser, the Bearcats added the Cen­tral Texas player of the year as se­lected by the Amer­i­canS­tates­man’s high school sports staff. Join­ing her at Cincin­nati will be Green, a first-team out­side hit­ter on the All-Cen­tex squad.

Blauser and Green were long­time “ac­quain­tances,” see­ing each other at var­i­ous camps and tour­na­ments for years. They have be­come friends since sign­ing with Cincin­nati about a month ago.

“It’s go­ing to be fun to be in col­lege with some­one who will un­der­stand me and re­late to me,” said Blauser, a 6-foot1-inch out­side hit­ter and mid­dle blocker who pow­ered Round Rock Chris­tian to the TAPPS 3A state cham­pi­onship this past sea­son.

Cincin­nati’s vol­ley­ball pro­gram has a strong con­nec­tion to Texas. Head coach Molly Alvey and her as­sis­tants, Ni­cole Miller and Steve Venci, just com­pleted their first sea­son with the Bearcats af­ter spend­ing the pre­vi­ous two years at the Univer­sity of Hous­ton.

“When they moved in March, I got an email say­ing they were in­ter­ested in me as a player and that they had moved schools,” Green said. “So I emailed back and it took off from there. Two months later, I was com­mit­ted to Cincin­nati.”

Blauser said she did not at­tract the at­ten­tion of Cincin­nati’s former coaches un­til she played in a club tour­na­ment last year in Las Ve­gas.

Now in her third sea­son with the Texas Eclipse club team, Blauser has blos­somed into a dom­i­nant player. She be­came the first stu­dent at Round Rock Chris­tian to earn an ath­letic schol­ar­ship to an NCAA Di­vi­sion I school, said Su­san Hart, Blauser’s high school coach.

Play­ing for a small pri­vate school did not stunt Blauser’s growth as a vol­ley­ball player.

“She could have played var­sity on any (Class) 5A school in the state as a starter, if not the star player,” Hart said. “She blew ev­ery­one out of the water (in TAPPS), and that’s putting it mod­estly.”

On its way to the TAPPS state ti­tle, Round Rock Chris­tian de­feated sev­eral large pub­lic high schools. Those vic­to­ries in­cluded one over Class 5A Cop­peras Cove in a tour­na­ment fi­nal at West High near Waco.

“My school’s size granted me an op­por­tu­nity to let­ter in three sports through­out my four years here,” Blauser said. “It made me a more well­rounded ath­lete, and it pushed me aca­dem­i­cally, which I know will help when I get to col­lege.”

Blauser, who also com­petes in track, al­ready is her school’s all-time scor­ing leader in girls bas­ket­ball, and she should reach the 2,000-point mile­stone soon.

Green, mean­while, re­ceived her first re­cruit­ing let­ter for vol­ley­ball dur­ing her fresh­man year. It came from Stan­ford.

“That’s when I re­al­ized that I was prob­a­bly go­ing to play vol­ley­ball in col­lege,” she said.

Green played on the club level with Austin Ju­niors be­gin­ning in the fifth grade.

Among the col­lege pro­grams that re­cruited her were Con­necti­cut, South­ern Mis­sis­sippi and Mis­souri.

For now, though, she wants to en­joy her fi­nal year of high school.

“I’ll never for­get when we won our fi­nal district game in my se­nior year, and we got a tro­phy for be­ing district cham­pi­ons,” Green said. “It was a goal we set and then we ac­com­plished it.”

Round Rock Chris­tian Academy se­nior Mal­lory Blauser, who heads the Al­lCen­tral Texas team, will be joined at Cincin­nati by Drip­ping Springs’ Shelby Green. ANDY SHARP / FOR AMER­I­CAN-

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