ROCKVILLE — Sometimes things just work themselves out.
Not even considering playing volleyball at a four-year college, Rodriguez High and Solano Community College graduate Hope Grace recently reached a deal to play her favorite sport at the University of Maine at Fort Kent starting this fall.
It was one of those things that just happened.
“I was at the state tournament at Foothill (College) and I started talking to the Maine coaches,” SCC coach Darla Williams said. “After the state tournament, they came (and made a visit to Solano) the week after.”
Grace had applied and been accepted to go to school at Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo, Long Beach State and San Diego State, but only for academics. Then Maine came to her attention.
“They came out to Solano and we showed them some video,” Grace said. “I was like, ‘Whoa.’ I didn’t think that was even an option. . . . I wasn’t even planning on playing (after SCC). Darla helped out a lot.”
The video and Grace’s stats spoke volumes to the Maine coaches. She played in all 79 games for SCC last season, compiling 131 kills with a .206 hitting percentage, made 117 digs, 15 blocks with 29 service aces on 198 attempts.
“Hope came out of high school she didn’t even think about playing after Solano,” Williams said. ” This was a way for her to keep playing. You didn’t have to be 6-foot-2 and super star out of high school. . . . You can keep playing.”
Williams added that Grace really excelled after only being a substitute for the Falcons her freshman season.
“It was her freshman year to her sophomore year,” the coach said. “As a freshman she was a sub. Last year, she didn’t come off the court. She played all the way around. A lot of it was her athleticism. She is just so aggressive. She really worked between the first and second year.”
Grace noted that she really grew up as a player and a person while playing at SCC.
“I learned leadership skills,” Grace said. “I was a team captain. I learned that from Darla. It’s different in college. I was working hard off the court. I was a leader by example.”
Grace said she plans on majoring in Biomedical Science at Maine, then getting her Master’s Degree back in California in Nutrition Science.
But first she’ll travel all the way across the country to study and play volleyball at a place she hasn’t even visited yet.
One thing she will be familiar with is two other Bengals athletes at the school that played at Solano, women’s basketball player Necole White, who recently committed to the college, and men’s basketball player James Givens, a rising senior guard at the school.
“I’m just going to go, it’s going to be an adventure,” she said. “I know it’s going to be cold.
“At first it will be lonely, but I will meet new people and make new friends with the volleyball players.”
Another thing that will probably just fall into place.
Reach Brian Arnold at 427-6969 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/barnolddr.