Players cross state lines to continue passion

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Going away to college can be exciting, but it can also be nerve-wracking. Some students attending college don’t only move a few hours away from home, they might move out of state.

Senior Allia Knight and junior Rachel Grier both know exactly what going to school in another state is like.

Knight and Grier both chose Oakland not only to further their education, but also their volleyball careers.

“I wanted to be out of state, I wanted seasons, I wanted coaches who would make the transition easier and I wanted to play volleyball at a high level,” Knight said.

Before leaving her friends and family to follow her passion for volleyball at Oakland, Knight attended Ventura High School in California. She said moving to a place where there are no familiar faces was an adventure.

“It pushed me out of my comfort zone and that was exactly what I wanted,” Knight added.

“There is something scary and uncomfortable about it, but I am an advocate for uncomfortable because growth doesn’t happen in our comfort zones,” Knight said.

Grier attended Cypress Ranch High School in Texas before moving to Michigan.

“It was exciting at first to do something where I didn’t know anybody, almost like a fresh start,” Grier said.

She added that moving far away is like no other obstacle she has ever encountered.

“It really teaches you to plan for things to go wrong because things aren’t nearly as easy as replacing them when you live out of state, i.e. your driver’s license,” Grier said.

Although they both agreed that the transition was tough, their discovery of Oakland was different.

Head coach Rob Beam reached out to Knight through a recruiting website called National Collegiate Scouting Association.

“I was looking to go out of state and Michigan was one of the states I was interested in going to,” Knight said.

Grier’s path was different.

After searching “Division I schools up north” on Google, she found Oakland University. She called coach Beam, visited the campus and decided it was for her.

Knight and Grier only get to see their family and friends two or three times a year.

“Leaving home this summer was easier because I knew it would be my last time doing so,” Knight said. “But overall, the older I get, the harder it is, because I’ve come to appreciate the place I come from and my family the more years I am away.”

Grier enjoys the beautiful campus and amiable volleyball coaches, but she still misses her family and friends.

“It’s hard whenever you have a really good day and you can’t share it in person with your best friends,” Grier said. “It’s hard to match friends that you have had since sixth grade.”

Knight and Grier come from states where it doesn’t snow and they don’t have seasons. The two teammates both were excited to experience seasons when they moved to Michigan.

“For me, the California girl, I think seasons will always be foreign,” Knight said. “I strongly believe everyone should get to live through them at some point in life.”

The team played in their first invitational of the year on Aug. 28-29 in Ann Arbor. They fell to West Virginia 3-2 on Aug. 28 [rest of the results]

The Black and Gold will travel to Ohio to play in the Golden Flashes Classic on Sept. 4.