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College volleyball: Gerber headed to Morningside

DOUG WOLTER/DAILY GLOBE Worthington High School senior Emma Gerber (third from left) signs to play volleyball with Morningside Tuesday morning while her parents Jay and Julie Gerber, and little sister Addison, sit with her. Morningside head coach Beth Donnelly (standing left), WHS head volleyball coach Jessica Hogan (standing, second from right) and WHS assistant coach Melissa Schutz watch.

WORTHINGTON — Emma Gerber’s athleticism literally jumped out at you during the 2015 high school volleyball season. That, coupled with some eye-opening statistics, caused college coaches to sit up and take notice.

But only one school can secure her services, and that school will be Morningside College of Sioux City, Iowa. Gerber formally signed to attend the Iowa college Tuesday morning at Worthington High School in the company of her family, her prep coaches Jessica Hogan and Melissa Schutz, several of her Trojan teammates, and Morningside head coach Beth Donnelly.

“I’m excited. It was a long decision, a hard decision, and I’m really looking forward to next year. I’m very confident in my decision,” said Gerber after putting pen to paper.

In her senior year of high school, the lean 5-11 hitter compiled a WHS single-season record 340 kills along with 76 blocks and 43 ace serves. She finished with 502 kills, 134 blocks and 76 aces for her career.

Donnelly plans to use her new offensive weapon in both the middle and right side of the net.

“Her coach (Hogan) sent some video to a lot of schools,” Donnelly said. “The first thought I had is that she’s already doing a lot of the things we do at Morningside. Big block, big presence. I think we’re going to be able to use her right away.”

Donnelly is pleased that Gerber is already experienced at swing blocking and she goes off one foot behind the setter. That should help her grow accustomed to the college game, which is played a much faster pace than in the preps.

“To some freshmen, it’s kind of a shock right away,” said Donnelly, who led Morningside to an 8-20 record last year in her first season as the Mustangs head coach.

Gerber said on Tuesday that she also considered Dakota Wesleyan of Mitchell, S.D., and Northwestern of Orange City, Iowa. But there was a special attraction with Morningside. “I knew I would be perfect for that school. I knew it was right,” she said.

She’ll be just one of many freshmen in the Morningside volleyball program, but she’s ready to work hard to earn a spot.

“I’m always aggressive. I want to be a smart player, to look at my options on the court and be quick and unpredictable,” she said.

Hogan agrees that Gerber has what it takes.

“She’s ready. She’s really passionate about volleyball. She’s a hard worker and I think she’s going to do really well at the next level,” Hogan said, adding that she understands the game, is versatile at the net and has excellent overall movement on the court.

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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