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Merch Madness
Courtesy:JMUSports.com Release:04/07/2009
Courtesy: JMUSports.com

By Maggie McConnell ‘09


 Standing at an athletic 5 foot 11 inches, freshman Holly Wall exudes the confidence of a collegiate athlete.  Although this is her first season with the James Madison women’s volleyball team, Holly already speaks about her team and collegiate athletic experiences with the ease of a seasoned player. 

Originally from Kaukauna, Wisconsin, this eighteen-year-old outside hitter has traveled an impressive distance away from her family and friends to become a welcome addition to JMU’s competitive women’s volleyball team. 

As the youngest of four, Holly is the only child in her family to play competitive volleyball.  Her interest in volleyball began in the sixth grade when she played for her private elementary school, St. Mary’s.  She then moved on to play for Kaukauna High School as well as the Fox Cities Elite Club Volleyball Team.  On her high school team, Holly was awarded first team all-conference and all-state honors. 

When deciding where to attend college in the fall of 2008, Holly had primarily focused on schools in Wisconsin.  When a scholarship offer was presented by JMU for Holly to play for the women’s volleyball team, she could not resist.  When asked if she has adjusted well to college Holly said, “Yes,” with the easiest adjustment consisting of, “being on my own” and the hardest, “being away from my family and nieces.” 

Luckily for Holly, when she came to JMU she was welcomed into a new family consisting of fourteen teammates and three coaches.  When asked who she looks up to the most on the team, Holly said, “Lauren Fanelli, because she works hard in every aspect of volleyball and school.”  As a communication science and disorders major, Holly quickly realized that finding a balance between school and volleyball was going to be crucial to her overall success.  She has found that if she takes her schedule week by week and utilizes the study aids that JMU provides, she should have no problems being successful in anything that she puts her mind to. 

Holly has proven to her coaches that if she puts her mind to performing at her best ability, she can deliver.  Both volleyball head coach Disa Garner and assistant coach Brian Grimes agree that Holly is “a higher level of player who can train at a higher level” and is “able to mentally handle what goes into competing at the next level.”  Grimes stated that, Holly “has a very competitive spirit” and “is a true athlete that brings that passion to the court day in and day out.”  With great coaches, teammates, friends, and family, Holly Wall has all the support that she needs to achieve all of the athletic and academic goals she sets at James Madison University. 


Note: Maggie McConnell is a senior practicum student in the JMU Sports Media Relations Office.  She is an English major with a minor in sports communications.

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