California native making waves for Tigers volleyball
Illinois was not on Ellie Adamson's radar at first.
When she was looking at colleges to continue her volleyball career, Adamson, a California native, said she never considered the Midwest. So coming to Olivet Nazarene was “completely God's plan,” as far as she's concerned.
“My mom went to Point Loma Nazarene for both her undergrad and master's of ministry; ironically, someone said I should check out Olivet and when I visited, I absolutely fell in love,” Adamson recently told Kankakee Times. “The girls were so friendly, and it was a completely different feel from the southern-Californian mentality.”
Adamson has certainly been on the radar of those handing out weekly Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) awards this season. The sophomore has been named the CCAC's setter of the week three times already in 2016. Adamson earned her first honor on Aug. 30, and the second and third awards came in consecutive weeks, Sept. 13 and 20.
“The Setter of the Week award, however, does not belong to me -- it belongs to my coaches and team,” she said. “I would not be anything without my passers giving me a good ball, my hitters putting it away, my teammates challenging me and my coaches staying on me about the little details in practice.”
The efforts have produced good results all season for Adamson. According to the CCAC's website, she leads all league setters this season in assists per set with 9.43 -- over one assist more than second-place Natalie Ricca of Judson -- and is third on the team in digs per set with 1.9.
Much like Illinois with her, Adamson took a little while to come around to the idea of playing volleyball. She said she's been playing the sport since the fifth grade, but was against playing volleyball at first when it was proposed to her. But she was hooked on the sport in time, and eventually was captain of her team at Santa Fe Christian High School in San Diego, as well as captain and MVP of the Coast Volleyball Club 17s, according to ONUTigers.com.
Outside of the time commitment, she said, college volleyball hasn't been a big difference for her.
“In San Diego, I was never handed my position and seniority was never an option: I always had to earn it, and it is the same here,” she said.
Playing among NCAA Division I-caliber players in high school also made her realize and accept her talent level, and to keep growing and getting better. That mentality has carried over to college.
“My freshman year of college, I sat on the bench all year, and for the first time in my whole career realized how important the 'second team' is to 'A team,'” she said. “I tried to push the other side in practice everyday in hopes of one day being able to have a spot on the A side and work with them.”
Adamson said that she has improved mentally, physically and spiritually in her time at ONU. Her mindset was altered by the culture change -- as well as having to deal with snow -- and the long practices have her in the best shape of her life, she said.
“Spiritually, my teammates have stretched and strengthened me every step of the way and pushed me to make my walk with the Lord my main priority,” she said. “A major area I have improved is I know that I am not defined by volleyball or the awards I receive, but rather the blood of Christ, and that's ultimately the biggest thing for me.”
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