Blauser, Green find common ground
Centex player of the year and Dripping Springs star head to Cincinnati.
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.”