For The Tribune
Danielle Meyer has been around volleyball for as long as she can remember.
When she enrolled at Brownstown Central High School, she had hopes of playing at the college level.
When that opportunity came, she jumped at the chance, recently signing a letter of intent to play at Indiana University Southeast.
“I’m looking to being a part of the team and work my butt off and give my best,” she said. “I enjoy the big crowds and the fans. It’s a tough game to play. There is a lot of different strategy, and it’s just really fun.”
Meyer said she visited two other colleges and had a practice at one college, but she decided on IUS because of its location, and it has her major, elementary education.
“I liked their volleyball so much,” Meyer said. “It’s closer to home, and I can be home on the weekends. I enjoy volleyball because I grew up with it. My mom played in middle school, and my sister played at Hauser, and Brooke (who has been Danielle’s teammate the past two years), and my aunt played in college.”
In her four years at Brownstown, Meyer played in the front row — on the right side her sophomore and junior seasons before moving to middle hitter this fall.
“I liked that I got a lot of sets,” Meyer said. “I liked middle because you get to hit more. It’s a lot of running to each side and trying to see where the set is going to be. It’s hard, but I like it. Mental is a big part of sports, and you have to push yourself, and you have to have determination to win.”
Jennifer Shade, Meyer’s coach at Brownstown, remembers when Meyer first started coming to volleyball camp.
“She’s been involved in our program since she was wee little,” Shade said. “I remember her coming in when we had second-grade camp years ago and participating, so she’s participated for years. Anything we’ve had for volleyball, she’s been a part of.”
Shade said she is happy to see Meyer choosing to play college volleyball.
“It’s a huge deal,” she said. “I’m very proud she’s made the decision to go on and play. It’s a commitment, so we’re proud of her that she’s made that commitment.
“She was a three-year starter her for us on the varsity. She started out on the right side, and we moved her to the middle. Her senior year, she was our leading hitter.”
Eric Brian, who just completed his third year as head volleyball coach of the Grenadiers, said he saw Meyer play in both club and high school.
“I got to see her play different positions, depending on which of those two teams she was playing for,” he said.
“She obviously has some height (5-11), which is always helpful. You can’t teach tall, so that helps. She has a solid block and a heavy arm, and she has a great attitude, which is definitely one of the things most coaches look for.”
Brian said he recruited Meyer mostly as a middle blocker.
“Considering her height, but then again considering her height, I could also maybe see her playing some right side so we could utilize her block a little bit, as well,” he said.
Outside of the high school season, Meyer played club ball in Seymour and New Albany.
Brian said he will give Meyer a plan to help her lateral movement.
“She has a heavy arm. I’m not so concerned about her hitting,” he said. “One of the most critical things for a middle hitter, and middle block more specifically, is the block, and that’s closing the block on the left and the right pins, and that takes a lot of lateral speed.
“That is probably one of the most important things she is going to need to work on to be able to play at the next level. She’s got a good reach. Vertical is important for any kid, and being as tall as she is, that definitely helps.”
Meyer received the hitting and blocking awards at the Braves’ awards program last week.
She also was named All-Mid-Southern Conference honorable mention.
“She contributed a lot to our success, to a lot of our wins,” Shade said. “She’s a strong front-row player. She’s a hard, aggressive hitter. She’s able to place the ball. I can see them using her as a strong hitter on their front line.
“She will get stronger, mature and grow even more as she goes to college and probably become an even better player in the next year or two. I see her in the same role as she had here in high school. With her height and strength, she’ll have a chance to play on their front line.”
Brian said Meyer will have to battle two older players for playing time.
“The good thing is, she is behind two really good middles — one will be a senior, and the other will be a junior who led our team in hitting percentage,” he said. “Again, the court time will definitely take some earning, and that more than likely might be on the right side. The good thing is, she’s got two really solid upperclassmen to learn a lot from, so I think she’ll have a steep learning curve.”
There will be four other Jackson County high school graduates on the IUS roster in the fall in Hannah and Haylee Barker from Trinity Lutheran and Taylor Sutton from Seymour.
“I think there is a lot of good volleyball between Louisville and Indianapolis,” Brian said. “I think Seymour and Jackson County definitely have good programs between Trinity Lutheran, Seymour and Brownstown, so it’s definitely a good area to recruit from.
“I think we’re all excited about next season since we didn’t lose any players since we had no seniors on the roster. We’re excited about getting stronger and bringing in more talent.”
Q: What’s it like playing volleyball at Brownstown?
A: “The fans are a big part of it. I liked the crowds, and so many people come to support us. The home matches were a lot of fun. I loved playing here. Everybody gets the opportunity to play, and it’s fun.”
Q: What’s it like attending BCHS?
A: “I like it because it’s a small school, and everybody knows everybody, and you have a lot of classes with your friends. I’m going to miss my friends a lot. That is one thing about going to college. The volleyball program is the best because everybody loves everybody, and it’s a fun thing to do.”
Q: Why do you come out with such intensity?
A: “It’s very important because once you win the first set, you get a big lift.”
Parents: Rex and Teresa Meyer
Siblings: Brooke and Nicole
Sports: Volleyball, four years; basketball, three years; track and field, one year
Athletic highlights: Helping the volleyball team win conference and sectional titles, and helping the Braves advance to semistate in 2013
Organizations: Braves Against Drugs Club, Booster Club, German Club, Lettermen’s Club, 4-H
Future plans: Attend Indiana University Southeast to play volleyball study elementary education
Favorite food: Spaghetti
Favorite TV show: “The Walking Dead”
Favorite musician: Luke Bryan
Favorite movie: “The Blind Side”
Favorite team: Indiana Hoosiers