Abing­ton’s Gass­man com­mits to Marist

Glenside News - - SPORTS - By Mike Prince

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.

Photo cour­tesy of Char­lie Lowe

Abing­ton’s Liz Gass­man has com­mit­ted to play vol­ley­ball at Marist Univer­sity next year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.