adds to the long list of Calvin All-MIAA setters
By Lynn Bolt Rosendale
The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association began naming All-MIAA teams in volleyball in 1982. During those first two decades, a Calvin setter was named to the league's elite 14 times.
This year was no exception to that streak with Calvin setter Laura Tucker making it the 15th time that such a selection has occurred.
Tucker, who averaged more than 12 assists per game, led the league in assists and was among the national leaders in that category.
While setter in not necessarily considered a glamour position—that is usually reserved for hitters—Tucker was driven by the challenge.
"I thrive on doing my job," she said, "Everyone on the team realized what I was doing and I don't need any affirmation beyond that."
In fact, Tucker, a graduate of Holland (Mich.) Christian High School, throws her success back to the others on the team. "Obviously I had the teammates that could get the job done," she said. "That's something that the stats never show."
Indeed, Calvin led the league in hitting percentage and kills and three Calvin hitters—Melissa Pell, Cassie Christopher and Kara Kuipers—were among the league's top ten in those same categories.
Playing with teammates such as Pell, Christopher, Kuipers and others is what made all the difference for Tucker, who transferred from Calvin to Lake Superior State for her sophomore year, only to return to Calvin a year later.
"As a freshman at Calvin I had mono and though I played on the team, I felt like I never really found my place," said Tucker. "There were other schools interested in having me play so I left. But there was nothing close to this Christian, caring team at State. I was so happy to be back with teammates who all have a passion for volleyball, who sacrifice their time because they really want to be there."
While the Knights' season ended disappointingly at the MIAA tournament with a five-game loss in the semifinals to Kalamazoo despite having beaten the Hornets twice in the regular season, Tucker was pleased with her playing career.
"It was great," she said. "It never felt like I missed a year here."
But volleyball isn't over for Tucker who went almost directly from the playing court to the bench as the varsity coach at Unity Christian High School in Hudsonville, Mich.
In her third year at Unity—second as varsity coach—Tucker has found that being on the sidelines is a good place to be too.
"I love building relationships with high school girls," she said. "It's been fun to see steady progress in the program."
And between playing and coaching, Tucker has learned valuable time management skills that will carry over to a career in adult fitness or cardiac rehabilitation, she said.
"Both playing and coaching have been rewarding experiences," she said "I am very glad for the opportunities."
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