SACRAMENTO, Calif. ““ St. Francis senior Marissa Gollnick has committed to play volleyball and attend Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology next fall. Gollnick will sign with the Fightin’ Engineers on Nov. 12.
“I have been looking at engineering schools,” said Gollnick, who is from Elk Grove. “It is what I have always wanted to do. My sister went to a small engineering school and when my parents were looking for her they ran into Rose-Hulman.”
The Rose-Hulman coaches saw Gollnick play in a tournament in Las Vegas and she visited the campus in Terra Haute, Ind., over the summer.
“I really liked the campus and coach,” said Gollnick. “She was really interested and I had a chance to schedule an official visit. I stayed with the girls. It really worked out.”
Rose-Hulman competes in Division III in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic League. The school ranked No. 1 in U.S. News & World Report among institutions whose highest degree in engineering is the master’s for each of the last 16 years.
“It was one of the factors in picking a school,” said Gollnick. “I wanted a high academic school. If I got a chance to play volleyball, I would play. But I did not want my college career to be all volleyball. I wanted it (based around) the academics and play some volleyball.”
The Fightin’ Engineers are coached by Brenda Gable, who is in her 19th season at the school and has won more than 200 career games.
Gollnick has been having a solid senior season for the Troubadours. She was recently named to the Mitty Invitational All-Tournament team.
“I was so surprised,” said Gollnick of the tournament honor. “I was really happy and flattered because all the coaches voted. I knew they were voting but it was really exciting.”
The all-tournament honor was not her only recognition lately. She was named a commended student in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program. The honor was awarded to all the students that placed among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2015 competition by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).
“It was also really exciting,” said Gollnick. “I knew my test score was high and I have always been a good test taker. But I did not expect to be ranked that high up. It was really cool. I was really surprised.”
The task of balancing playing varsity sports while performing in the classroom is an acquired skill for Gollnick.
“Academics have always been a big deal for me,” said Gollnick. “I push myself harder than anyone else could. My parents don’t worry about me academically because I put more stress on myself than they could ever. I really try to balance my schedule and use my free time as best that I can. I have been doing volleyball for so long I know how to fit it into my daily schedule.”
She has recorded over 800 assists on the season, ranking second in the league in assists per set with 8.7.
“I like the leadership that I have to have on the court,” said Gollnick about setting. “Everyone says it is the like the quarterback of volleyball. I like that I get to be in charge of the game. I get to choose how this goes down. I think it is exciting.”
Gollnick and her teammates play their final regular season games over the next two weeks before the start of the postseason.
“We are finding our stride and trying push ahead but it is a new position compared to last year,” said Gollnick. “We are doing the best we can. It is new for all the seniors to lead the team. We trying to focus in and do the best we can.”
St. Francis hosts Franklin Tuesday night.
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