Abington’s Gassman commits to Marist
Over the years, Abington’s athletic programs have been well-represented when it came down to Division 1 scholarships being handed out to their athletes. At least most of them have been.
But when looking at the boys’ and girls’ volleyball programs, that has never been the case…until now.
Abington’s Liz Gassman, a 6-foot2 senior from Glenside, has committed to Marist University to play volleyball on an athletic scholarship, becoming the first ever volleyball player from Abington to earn a Division 1 scholarship.
“It’s pretty cool,” Gassman said of being the Abington athlete in her sport to go Division 1. “It’s definitely something I can hold up against my name. There are so many other sports that do such great things for Abington, so it’s nice to be able to kind of put volleyball on the map.”
Gassman, 17, has been playing volleyball since the seventh grade. She currently plays for Synergy’s 17 Orange team, which won the 2012 USAV Girls’ Junior National Championship, marking the first time an East Coast club had taken home the top prize in girls’ volleyball.
She is a middle blocker with a long reach and a powerful serve, while also playing any position which is asked of her by her coach, Abington’s Jea Lee.
“Liz is a phenomenal player and she’s an all-around hitter that plays the back, middle, wherever we need her,” said Lee, who is in his first year as the head coach of the Lady Ghosts. “I’ve been playing and coaching volleyball for 18 years and this is the first time I’ve seen a girl with that level of play at this age.
She’s pretty darn good.
“What I’ve really noticed this year is that a lot of teams know about her and the way she plays, and they adjust their defense and philosophy just because of her. She is a phenomenal player, a captain of our team and just an awesome player. I think she’ll really excel at Marist. She’s tall, she’s athletic, she’s strong and she’s fast and she’ll do well when she plays there next year.”
Gassman has been a steady power at Abington for four years now, starting on varsity ever since her freshman year. The Lady Ghosts have never had the strongest program, but as of Wednesday, were already off to a 4-2 start on the young 2012 season.
“We have a new coach and we’re a lot more competitive with the top teams in our league than we have been in years past,” said Gassman, who started receiving college interest in only her sophomore season. “Wednesday night, we play rpper Merion, and I think that will be a real deciding factor in how we do this season.”
Gassman said her final college choices came down to Lehigh, Loyola rniversity of Maryland, Bucknell and Marist, but ultimately decided that playing for Coach Tom Hanna at Marist would be the best decision for her, athletically and academically.
“I really just loved the campus,” she said. “I think the coach is a really great guy who isn’t just focused on the players being great athletes, but great students. I adore the campus and all the girls on the team are really nice and it just fit me really well. It has the best of both worlds as far as the competitiveness of my club team and the camaraderie of being able to play with a group of girls that I love, like with Abington.”
Gassman said she plans on majoring in English during her college tenure.
She started playing club volleyball at the age of 13, playing for High Line, but began looking for a more competitive club team that could help her achieve her goal of playing in college.
And while Gassman said her service game is improving, and her passing could be better, her hitting and her blocking are the strongest aspects of her game. She also believes that Hanna will be a great teacher for her in college to help improve those aspects of her game which may need some work.
“Coach Hanna went above and beyond on my visit,” Gassman said. “I felt like I really clicked with the coach and that he could help me to continue growing my skills as a player.”
Gassman has nearly a full season of high school volleyball and club volleyball to continue to improve her skills as a player. Already standing at 6-foot-2, she already has an advantage over most of the competition. And if she can improve on her passing and serving, then she should be an even bigger force for years to come.
Abington’s Liz Gassman has committed to play volleyball at Marist University next year.