Oregon-Bound Morgan Colyer Finished September As The State-Leader In Kills, And With Her Lincoln Fighting Zebras Atop The Sac-Joaquin Section •
There is no game plan that keeps the volleyball from striking the palm of California’s leader in kills, Lincoln High senior Morgan Colyer.
One way or another, Colyer is going to hurt you.
The daughter of two NCAA All-American athletes will soon craft her own legacy at Oregon, but before that, she will continue spike-blasting the finish off hardwood inside prep gymnasiums.
“You hope that you can limit her success — which you never can, because she is going to get her points regardless,” Oakmont-Roseville coach Matt Taylor reflected after a 3-0 Foothill Valley League defeat at Lincoln last week. “The last couple of days we have been going outside heavy just to kind of anticipate what she can do, but we don’t have anybody at practice that is doing what she is doing on the court.
“I anticipated her being a front-row stud, but now she is killing us out of the back row too … It’s just a tough player to game plan for.”
With less than a month remaining in CIF regular season volleyball, Colyer leads all California hitters with 399 kills, among stats reported to MaxPreps.com. She’s done it in just 55 sets played.
“I feel honored to set to someone like Morgan,” Lincoln setter Jordyn Deter said. “If I know we are in a bad spot, I can set to her and it’s most likely going to be a kill.”
Colyer’s finishes have led Lincoln to a 20-2 stanza in 2021 and a 7-0 start to the FVL schedule. It’s why the Fighting Zebras closed out September at No. 7 in the SportStars NorCal Volleyball Rankings, highest among all SJS teams.
CHIP OFF THE OL’ TWO-HANDED BLOCK
Colyer was destined for collegiate athletics at birth.
Her parents didn’t just play college sports, they dominated.
Mom Nicole Colyer is better known in NCAA lore as Nique Crump, a two-time All-American (1996, 1997) and four-time All-Big West Conference honoree for Long Beach State. She led the nation in hitting percentage (.428) as a senior and is listed 25 times in the ‘49ers record book.
Nicole was a NCAA Regional Semifinalist with Long Beach in 1996 and third in the NCAA Final Four a year later. For three years, she was set by Misty May-Treanor, a three-time Olympic gold medalist considered to be one of the most successful female beach volleyball players of all time.
Morgan’s father, Jeff Colyer, earned his prestige in the Long Beach pool. Jeff was a two-time NCAA All-American (1997, 1998) on the ‘49ers water polo team. He still holds the school record for goals scored in a single game (eight) and is sixth all-time in career goals (174).
Mom’s path won out.
“I played soccer when I was 4 until sixth grade, then I moved to volleyball because it’s what my mom played,” Morgan said. “I was just drawn to it.”
Morgan landed at SynergyForce Volleyball in Roseville, a 38-team volleyball club with 18 collegiate commitments from the last two classes alone.
Between SynergyForce and Lincoln, she’s enjoyed consistent tutelage throughout her career.
“I think all of my coaches have been incredible,” Morgan said. “All of them have different things they bring to the table and collectively they have been amazing.
“I think it’s about trust and confidence in each other.”
DUCK TO THE FUTURE
Morgan announced her verbal commitment to Oregon the same day that collegiate recruiting rules allowed Oregon coaches to speak with her.
She could find immediate success if she sees early deployment.
Oregon is 12-2 this fall, and was ranked No. 11 in the country in the latest NCAA American Volleyball Coaches Association coaches poll (Sept. 26).
It took one visit — attendance at an Oregon volleyball camp Morgan’s sophomore year — to end the college search.
“I absolutely fell in love with the facilities, location, coaches and all the girls there,” Morgan said. “The program is growing so much and I am so excited to go up there.”
The Ducks are surging under fifth-year head coach Matt Ulmer, with no signs of slowing.
Nine of Oregon’s most utilized players are non-seniors and seven of them are underclassmen, including rotating setters Elise Ferreira (sophomore from Liberty-Bakersfield) and Kylie Robinson (sophomore from Claremont-Upland). Oregon embraces its youth. True freshman Becca Morse (a prep state champion from Tempe, Ariz.) is tied for the team lead in sets played (51).
“The coaches are incredible and Oregon has such a huge family atmosphere,” Morgan said. “It is everything that I wanted in a school’s academics and athletics.”
The proximity to home, with enough room for independence, was a big draw as well. The Pac-12 schedule includes UCLA, USC, Stanford and Cal.
THE LAST DANCE
Before she heads to Eugene, Morgan will look to punctuate a sterling prep career by filling the empty spaces of Lincoln’s trophy case.
The Fighting Zebras have never won a Sac-Joaquin Section title, but they enjoyed their first championship appearance in 2019. Morgan smashed 479 kills during the 28-10 season that included a SJS Div. II runner-up to Tracy and three wins in the CIF state championship playoffs. The run ended in regional semifinals, via a 3-set defeat against CIF Div. II runner-up Los Gatos.
All signs point to a historic campaign.
Lincoln entered the first week of October having won 12 straight matches, and 28 consecutive sets. The Zebras beat the next-best team in the SJS, Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills (20-3), in two sets to win their host Lincoln Classic Tournament Oct. 2. Lincoln also owns sweeps against NorCal Top-20 teams Christian Brothers-Sacramento (No. 17) and Whitney-Rocklin (No. 19).
Morgan is currently enjoying a .566 hitting percentage with a remarkable 7.3 kills-per-set average. She also flexes her versatility with 61 aces, 37 blocks and 192 digs.
And she’s not Lincoln’s only standout. Deter, McKenzie Keller, Adrienne Vite (42 blocks) and Kendal Widell have delivered another 309 kills.
Deter is also 12th in California with 74 aces and is fourth among all Golden State setters with 647 assists.
It’s Deter who pointed to bigger aspirations than a SJS banner.
“State is definitely our goal, and has been our goal since my freshman year,” Deter said. “It’s obtainable this year, and if we keep working in practice we can probably get there.”
Deter’s father, Jeff Deter, is also Lincoln’s head coach.
He said Lincoln’s team play is probably the program’s greatest strength.
A prolific outside hitter certainly helps too.
“Morgan is a great kid that works hard at her craft, attentive to details and always asking questions,” Jeff said. “(She) burns to improve. Exactly the type of kid coaches want to work with.”
Exactly the type of kid you don’t want to work against.