Sports

Grass born for volleyball stardom

For most people during this time of the year, football is a religion. But in Manhattan Beach, California, the hometown of junior libero Jamie Grass, volleyball, not football, is away of life.
From a young age Grass was submersed in a beach town where volleyball was everywhere. With this in mind, it should be no surprise that Grass began competitive volleyball at age 12.
Grass didn’t take long to excel when arriving at Mira Costa High School, where she was a four-letter winner in volleyball. She led the Mustangs to three straight Bay League Championships, and in her senior year won the CIF Division 1-A Championship as well. Grass clearly illustrates you can take her out of California but you can’t take California out of her.
Her love affair with Manhattan Beach had to be put on hold, as she moved over 3,000 miles away to the University of Miami. Grass chose UM because of the promising future of the program led by Head Coach Nicole Lantagne Welch.
Grass apparently isn’t very bad at decision-making, considering that in Lantagne Welch’s first two years as head coach the team has amassed a record of 44-12, including winning the first 15 games of the season in 2002. In her sophomore season with the ‘Canes, Grass made the transition to starting libero, the most defensively oriented position on the floor. In 2002, Grass averaged 4.23 digs per game, including a career high 40 digs in a dramatic five game win over Virginia Tech.
During the off-season Grass was involved with the Spoilers club team and played in beach leagues. In 2000, Grass was the winner of the Junior National Beach Championship and qualified as a member of the U.S. Junior National Beach Squad.
Grass continued beach volleyball in 2001, where she received a silver medal at the Junior Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia and her team represented the United States at the World Championships in Nice, France.
Grass certainly has a volleyball player’s mentality, finding no major differences between the beach and indoor formats.
“[There are] minor details, instead of a hardwood floor it’s sand, and instead of six players it’s two,” Grass said.
The outlook for the 2003 season is a promising one, thanks to the veteran experience Grass brings to the libero position.
“I see everything on the floor, especially from the back [of the court],” Grass said.
The ‘Canes have started the 2003 season 7-3; recently suffering a tough loss to Northwestern.
“We shouldn’t worry about the loss because we have bigger things to worry about,” Grass said.
Grass has her eyes on the Big East Tournament after losing to Notre Dame in the conference finals last year. Grass also intends to be in contention for the Big East Libero of the Year Award.
“I can break down the game and look for other players on the court,” Grass said.
The volleyball team will participate in the Florida State Tournament beginning today. After being asked how excited she was for the upcoming tournament.
“I’m stoked,” she said.
Spencer Weinkle can be reached at Fontier34@aol.com.

September 19, 2003

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.