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Stouffer sacrifices beach party for scholarship

Smithsburg volleyball standout heads to High Point (N.C.) to continue career

Smithsburg volleyball standout heads to High Point (N.C.) to continue career

August 05, 2002|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

Earning a volleyball scholarship was no day at the beach for Janelle Stouffer.

In fact, for the former Smithsburg setter, it was quite the opposite.

Stouffer made a last-minute desicion to bypass a beach vacation to attend a volleyball camp at Duke University last summer. It resulted in a chance meeting with High Point (N.C.) University's head coach and an athletic and academic scholarship to attend the NCAA Division I school.

"It was weird," Stouffer said. "I wasn't going to go to the Duke camp. I was going to go to the beach that week. But my mom told me to take a look at it and I decided to go. It all worked out ... didn't it."

The camp, which was held before Stouffer's senior year with the Class 1A state champion Leopards, was run mainly by coaches from North Carolina-based schools. In the process of instruction, Stouffer's abilities caught the eye of High Point coach Georgette Crawford.

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"She was interested in me and so uplifting," Stouffer said. "She wanted me to come down for an official visit in the fall. I went down and loved the school and the team. Everyone was so nice. There was that Southern hospitality. It was my first choice for a school to attend."

A good atmosphere carried an underlying importance to Stouffer. As a setter, knowing your teammates and feeling comfortable with them is important. That idea became one of the main ingredients for Smithsburg volleyball and the overall success of the Leopards' girls sports programs.

"I think that has helped me so much," Stouffer said. "All the girls teams went and supported each other. We went as a team to support the girls soccer team when it was playing at Towson for the state title and they came over to see us. We had a high level of playing for so long, it carried over to my club team and not it has me ready for college."

That made the immediate connection with the High Point players so important.

"It's going to be the same," Stouffer said. "It's going to be like a big family. You are with your teammates all the time so they become a whole new family."

Stouffer drew interest from McDaniel College, formerly Western Maryland, and the University of Rochester, a pair of Division III schools which couldn't offer much scholarship money and wanted her to play more than one sport. She plans to stick solely with volleyball while pursuing a degree in exercise science before moving on for four years of study to become a chiropractor.

Until then, Stoffer will be exercising her setting skills any way she is needed for High Point against its Southern Conference competition.

"They had a couple of players from last year who decided not to come back," Stouffer said. "One was a setter who isn't coming back and the other was someone that was moved into the setter role. I don't know what is going to happen, but I'm not expecting to start right away. When I was a freshman at Smithsburg, I had to work to get in the lineup and I know I'm going to have to do it again."

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