Anyone who has ever seen Drew Norberg on a volleyball court knows that she is a Division 1-caliber player.
There were moments this season when Norberg seemed to be floating above the net before she would shatter the serenity with her devastating kills. Through sheer grit she willed the Vikings to an improbable state title.
When it came to playing at the next level, it was never a matter of if Norberg would make it, only a matter of where. That where turned out to be Kent, Ohio. The middle blocker has verbally committed to Kent State, a Division I athletic powerhouse and, come this fall, Norberg will be flying on a full-ride scholarship and the realization of her dream to play volleyball at the next level.
"They're athletic department is just really good. All their sports are used to winning, and I want to be around that mentality," Norberg said. "The other girls were awesome, and I just felt comfortable. I already felt like I had been on the team just after two days."
The feeling was mutual. Norberg should be seeing substantial playing time as a freshman.
"I'll probably be starting actually and that was definitely a big reason I chose Kent because I'm not the type of person who's going to be able to watch. I have to be out there," Norberg said.
Norberg's competive spirit and drive to win was something that caught the Kent coaches' attention, she said. Head coach Don Gromala cannot comment on Norberg until her official paperwork goes through in April, but Norberg said it was her athleticism and competitive spirit that got her noticed while she was playing club volleyball.
"(Gromala) could just tell I want to compete," Norberg said, "and he could see me going to play pro after the four years, and that's really what I want."
Kent State will get her there. The coaching staff and current talent on the team all went into Norberg's decision, and in turn Norberg has a chance to help put Kent on the volleyball map.
Gromala took over the Kent State volleyball program this past April. He was assistant coach at Ohio State for four years, and during his last two seasons there, Gromala helped lead the women to the Sweet 16 twice.
It won't happen overnight, but Gromala has big plans for the Kent State volleyball team.
"They've never won a MAC (Mid-America Conference) championship so that's our goal to start building toward that in the next couple years by bringing in some new recruits and just trying to do some things differently with our offense and defense," Gromala said, "but it's a tough conference. Two years ago there were four teams in the NCAA tournament from the MAC."
Norberg is no stranger to tough. She was the key ingredient to a state champion volleyball team that was written off by most. She also pushed her way out of a D 1-A high school and onto the top of the volleyball food chain.
"Get your name out there. Just contact the coach, and contact as many people as you can," Norberg said. "Don't let living in such a small town stop you."