Things falling into place, and then some, for Pierz graduate Lindsay Monson

When Lindsay Monson started playing volleyball at Central Lakes College (CLC), she wasn’t interesting in taking home a fancy plaque or gaudy trophy.

She was just looking for a sweatshirt.

“I was always envious of the teams that got to go to the state tournament and get that sweatshirt,” Monson said. “I felt like I saw it everywhere, so my goal coming to CLC was I wanted to just make it past regions and know what it feels like to participate in something so great.”

The Pierz graduate certainly had a chance to do that during her two-year stay at CLC, which ended this fall with a third-place finish in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) tournament.

The team’s 29-3 record was the second best in school history.

Monson, the Raiders’ go-to hitter, was named the Minnesota College Athletic Conference Player of the Week six times and the Northern Division Player of the Year, while being one of 12 players in the nation selected to the NJCAA Division III All-American first team.

Because of that, Monson is now receiving extensive recruiting interest from schools looking for her to use her final two years of college volleyball eligibility with them, a position she had a hard time imagining she would be in when she started at CLC.

“I believe my volleyball game has developed tremendously the last two years,” Monson said. “(Coaches) Jane (Peterson) and Ken (Miller) really helped me become the player I pushed to be and continue to be after CLC. Every day when I came to practice I learned something new, and it was definitely hard at times, but we got through it as a team.

“I needed to improve my quickness for sure,” she said. “The game at the college level is a lot faster so I had to be prepared for that.”

A lot faster, and a lot of fun.

“Playing in college is an overall amazing experience,” Monson said. “For anyone wanting to play after high school I highly recommend it. I feel very grateful to have been a Raider in both basketball and volleyball.

“The speed is different,” she said, “(but) the atmosphere is similar as in high school. It’s just taking your skills to the next level and constantly striving to do better to reach your full potential. This is what I love about sports, is continuously trying to better myself in the sport to be the best of my ability.”

While she is sad to be leaving CLC, Monson is eager to begin the next step in her athletic journey.

“I’m looking to take my volleyball career to the next level at the next college I am at,” Monson said. “I want to see how far I can go as an athlete.”

Monson expects to make a decision between a handful of schools at the end of January, with St. Cloud State, Bethel and schools in Kentucky, Illinois and Ohio among her top choices.

Along with a scholarship, Monson is set to leave the CLC playing court with what she really wanted when she arrived, plus a little extra.

“After this season, making it past regions and taking third at nationals, you better believe I bought that NJCAA volleyball national championship sweatshirt,” Monson said. “Being named All-American was just an added bonus to the success we had as a team … I never imagined being an All-American.”