|Schneider (click for larger version)|
August 07, 2012 | 05:27 PMZENDA — Last fall, the Big Foot girls volleyball team etched its name in the history books.
With a 40-5 record, the Lady Chiefs won their first sectional title and advanced to the state tournament for the first time in school history (35 years of volleyball).
The team boasted a bevy of talent and team chemistry, and 18-year-old Zenda resident Meghan Schneider was a big part of the squad's success.
The 5-foot-11 middle blocker was a dominant force at the net for the Chiefs. She was a first team all-Rock Valley Conference selection the last two seasons. A few months ago, Schneider fulfilled a lifelong dream of playing college volleyball. She signed to play at Division 2 Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a campus roughly an hour from Pittsburgh. Schneider will major in psychology, and she hopes to make an immediate impact with the Crimson Hawks.
She joins former teammate Annie Kunes (Division 1 University of Texas-San Antonio) as the second Chief from the team's state run to play college volleyball.
Schneider's club volleyball team just made it to nationals in June, and Schneider already is leaving this weekend for school.
The Regional News caught up with Schneider to discuss her decision process, her time at Big Foot and her future goals.
RN: Why did you choose Indiana University of Pennsylvania? Take me through the recruiting process.
MS: I chose IUP because every part of the university was perfect for me. The volleyball was obviously another important part of the selection process and everything was seamless there as well. IUP was one of the last schools I looked at. It was hard to be patient, but it paid off.
RN: What other schools were interested in you?
MS: Through the recruiting process I talked to many schools D1 through D3, everywhere from Kansas to New York. There's a lot of schools you go through during the recruiting process so I'm not going to name them all. But my final three choices were IUP, Lynn University in Southern Florida, and Long Island University (both D2 schools).
RN: Are you satisfied with going D2? Is it really that big of a leap from D1?
MS: I am very satisfied going D2. I looked at all three divisions and even some NAIA schools, so I really explored all my options. My recruiting coordinator explained to me when I was trying to make my decision that there is overlap between every division. So I just picked the school that felt right and it happened to be D2.
RN: Why did you want to play college volleyball?
MS: I got into volleyball in grade school and started playing competitively in sixth grade. I realized I love playing the sport, and I wanted to do it as long as I could. My family would also take me to UW-Madison's volleyball games, and I had so much fun that I knew one day I wanted to do that, too.
RN: Take me back to your memorable senior season at Big Foot. What about that state run still makes you smile?
MS: What still makes me smile is not just one great play, but the whole team's effort and the community support for us.
RN: What are your volleyball roots? When and why did you get into the sport? Why do you love the game?
MS: I started playing in fifth grade for Reek Elementary School. It was a great jump into the sport, but in order to play more competitively I played for Wisconsin Juniors for the next five years. Then, I finished my club experience at Club Fusion. I love the game because everything about it is a team sport. Not just one person can win every point.
RN: Who has been your biggest inspiration along the way?
MS: Not just one person, but all of my family. Every person contributed in their own little way. They have stayed with me through wins and losses and have always told me how proud I make them, so knowing that makes me want do even better for them.
RN: What position will you play in college? What are your goals for your freshman year? What would you say is the strength of your game?
MS: Right now I will stay as a middle in college. There is a possibility I could move to an outside later in my career but as of right now, still a middle. My goals for my freshmen year are to try my hardest and compete for playing time. I think that offense is one of my strengths.
RN: Are you worried about being far from home? How close are you with your family?
MS: Yes, I am. It will be hard when other teammates can just run home and grab something or see their family. For me, it's going to be an 11-hour drive or a flight. But my family already is pulling the calendar out and asking me when it's going to be okay to visit. As of right now, I'll be seeing them probably more than I thought, which is completely okay with me.
RN: How's your summer going?
MS: I finished up with club volleyball at nationals in June. From there on, I've been working and just trying to enjoy my last summer at home.
RN: What are you most looking forward to in college?
MS: Meeting new people and experiencing new things.
RN: What will you miss the most about Big Foot High School?
MS: Being able to see all my friends every day in the hallway.
RN: High school can be tempting. What kept you focused on volleyball and your grades despite the peer pressures?
MS: My end goal. I knew that if I fell off the track I worked so hard to get on, that it would be a million times harder to get back on. I've seen what happens to kids who don't stick with it, and that also gave me a big push in the right direction.