BLOG: Courtney's Past Helps Shape Future
Oct. 3, 2013
By Chelsea Howard, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
For the past four years, Courtney has worn the ribbon each time she competes. However, it has a much deeper meaning than being just another ordinary pink ribbon. It has the words "Casey 14" written on it.
"Casey was a girl that I grew up admiring her and her sister," Courtney said. "Casey and her dad were in a plane to pick up her sister for spring break and when they took off one of the technicians told them that the plane isn't okay and to come back down. The plane exploded on impact and both Casey and her dad died."
To honor Casey and her family, Courtney wears the ribbon as a constant reminder of the influence that their family has had on her career and to keep in mind where she came from.
"I just wear the ribbon to symbolize what her and her family had done for me in terms of volleyball and knowing that where I came from is also a part of who I am. It helps me remember Casey and her family," Courtney said. "It just humbles me to say I didn't get to where I am without them."
Graduating high school, Courtney was ranked as the No. 4 high school player in the country and had to make a choice of where she wanted to make her college debut. Her decision to come to Penn State was a simple one when she saw the atmosphere and what it would be like to play as a Nittany Lion.
"The whole college process when you walk onto a campus is just supposed to click," Courtney said. "I thought to myself can you see yourself being at this school if volleyball isn't in the picture. That's what I based my decision off of because what if I got hurt. I weighed all my options and Penn State was just the perfect spot with volleyball and without volleyball. It was the absolute best school for me."
One component that made the decision easy for Courtney was the atmosphere in Rec Hall. This season the sophomore has stepped up in a big way against some of the top teams in the country, experiencing the Rec Hall emotion in response to her plays. She registered 11 kills against Michigan and each time the emotion in her face matched the intensity of the cheers from the fans.
"It's an incredible feeling knowing that everyone in here is cheering for you and for your team to succeed," Courtney said. "It's just something that we shouldn't take for granted and something that we should strive for every point, every game that we play. The crowd helps in so many ways because if we get a good point or we're not playing well they know how to cheer and how to get us going. Being able to hear that crowd and hear them roar as they do is absolutely phenomenal."
Building off the emotion of the crowd, Courtney has made a huge impact for the team throughout her career - especially as they began their Big Ten schedule. She finished the Michigan State match with 15 kills and 14 digs and came out the next night and played with even more intensity against Michigan making four blocks and a service ace.
As one of the youngest starters on the court for Penn State, Courtney handles the pressure of starting like some of the veterans on the team. She knows what head coach Russ Rose looks for when he picks the lineup and strives to be one of the hardest workers.
"It's always been who works the hardest, who gives a 110 percent effort, who's been the best teammate," Courtney said. "It can vary from week to week - it doesn't really matter who we're playing. It doesn't matter if it's home or away. It matters how much work you put in and if you're providing energy. If you're doing more positive than negative you're most likely going to get on the court."
With her freshman year behind her already, Courtney has proven to be a leader in all aspects of the sport. In addition to her physical talent of being a versatile player, the sophomore's knowledge of volleyball set her apart from other players immediately when she entered collegiate volleyball.
"I think Megan had a great impact even as a freshman," Rose said. "Her strengths are her volleyball IQ and the fact that she's capable of performing all of the skills. She's a good passer, defensive player, and our best blocker. There's times when she gets everything lined up well and she takes a good swing as an outside attacker."
Working her way into the starting lineup and wearing the pink ribbon as a symbol of where she came from, Courtney's hard work and determination has set her up for another successful year with the Nittany Lions.