From email invite to All-American
Lound continues to lead Lakers defensively
GVSU's Kaleigh Lound punches one over the net in a recent match against FSU.
Unlike many collegiate volleyball players, junior Kaleigh Lound opted not to play club volleyball while in high school. Instead she played four sports, something Grand Valley State University coach Deanne Scanlon is attracted to when searching for talent.
“The kids who play multiple sports at the high school level always stick out in their own way because they tend to love to compete,” Scanlon said. “The same goes for Kaleigh, she is as competitive as it gets.”
Coming out of Mason High School, Lound had initially planned to play college volleyball at Alma College. However, an email invite to GVSU’s volleyball tryouts quickly changed her plans.
“I was all set on going to Alma, that was until I received that email from Grand Valley,” Lound said. “I didn’t really think too much of it at the time, I just saw it as another opportunity.”
Shortly after the tryout, Lound was asked to come on an official visit to check out the campus, facilities and all that GVSU had to offer. During her visit, Lound was offered a scholarship.
Just like that, Lound’s college plans had drastically changed.
“During high school, I didn’t really get too involved in the recruiting process,” Lound said. “Everything just fell into place and once I had an opportunity to play for Grand Valley, there was no passing that up.”
Like many freshman, Lound sat patiently and waited her time in her first year as a Laker. She appeared in only 12 matches on the year.
“Kaleigh came in as a freshman with a lot of raw athleticism,” sophomore Josie Werner said. “I think she knew the type of potential that she had, but it wasn’t going to all come together in her first year.”
It was in her sophomore year that Lound saw the biggest transition of her collegiate career to date. Lound suddenly became a prime asset for the Laker volleyball team, starting 34 of 35 matches, and appearing in 127 of the 129 sets that season.
“It was a huge transition,” Lound said. “At first I was scared and a bit nervous, but I just went for the opportunity that was given to me. I’m fortunate that things worked out the way that they did, and I was able to fit right in with that team.”
As Lound’s production grew, people around the GLIAC and even around the country started to notice.
Lound finished her sophomore season leading the GLIAC in total blocks (152), and block assists (125), and had the most blocks for a GVSU player since 2008.
Her production led to a number of accolades. She was named to the AVCA All-American Third Team, Daktronics Inc. All-Midwest Region Second Team, AVCA All-Midwest Region Team, and All-GLIAC Second Team.
What a difference a year makes.
“The biggest difference from my freshman to sophomore year was the amount of time that I was able to put in on the court,” Lound said. “It was the first time in my life that I was playing year round and it made the biggest difference in my game.”
Now established as a leader for No. 12 GVSU, Lound hopes her role will continue to grow and develop, just as she does as a focal part of the team.
“The expectations that my coaches and teammates have for me are always expanding,” Lound said. “I know that I have to lead by example now, and I’m ready for that challenge and all that comes with it.”