Saving the Best for Last: Senior Staci Brower Is Ready to Compete on the Court
Staci Brower spiking the ball towards Michigan Techs blockers, Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. GVL / Dylan McIntyre.
Senior Staci Brower is coming up to her last season at Grand Valley State, however her experience with the team and with the university speaks for itself.
Reflecting back on why she came to the university to begin with, Brower’s recruiting story is one that hits closer to home.
“Grand Valley started recruiting me when I was a sophomore and so it was pretty much the first school that had talked to me about playing volleyball.” Brower said. “When trying to decide which school was best for me I also looked at the distance it was from my family. My family is a huge part of my life and so I didn’t want to be too far from them.”
With GVSU only being half an hour away from Brower’s hometown of Byron Center, Mich., it gave her the space she needed to live on her own while not being too far from her roots. She quickly realized, though, how the team would eventually be like a second family to her.
“When I went on the first visit, the coaches had a bunch of the players come on the visit with me and talk to me and I loved how open and funny everyone was," Brower said. "I wanted to have a second family, even though mine was only thirty minutes away. They all seemed as though they genuinely cared about each other and I appreciated that family dynamic.”
With a close family comes unforgettable memories, and Brower several favorite memories with the team from the beginning of her volleyball career.
“My freshman year we went to a Brazilian steakhouse for dinner. Myself and another one of the freshmen, Taylor, decided we were going to keep on telling the waitress we wanted more meat and to ‘keep it coming’ the entire night," Brower said. "We both started to get the meat sweats, but it was just us goofing around and our teammates pushing us and egging us on so it was quite the dining experience”
While she may have started off as a goofball freshman, Brower has grown to be one of the team’s leaders both on and off the court.
“I typically lead by example. I try to give my best every single day," Brower said. "By trying to never let up my work ethic, performance, and voice, I feel that it shows my teammates that I care about them, but also that I’m willing to do whatever is necessary for the team to succeed.”
While Brower is a major asset for the volleyball team, she also has very exciting plans for her future and her major.
The middle blocker has been studying recreational therapy with a minor in psychology. She originally wanted to study nursing, but after sitting down with some of her coaches and exploring other health related options, she found that this was exactly what she wanted to do.
“I’m ecstatic about this career and being accepted into the program. I originally wanted to study nursing but my heart felt it wasn’t quite right," Brower said. "I absolutely love helping others and encouraging them to reach their goals, so I felt that this was a perfect fit.”
While GVSU has given her many opportunities, it has also prepared the senior for real world jobs and experiences. She has learned all different kinds of skills that will benefit her in the future in the workplace and life in general.
“I think being on a sports team can be quite challenging. You have many different people and personalities all having to work together for a certain goal," Brower said. "Learning to work with different people and going through hardships and continuing to persevere has helped me so that when I’m looking for jobs or in my career I’ll already have experience engaging and working with a wide range of personalities.”
Brower has proven to be a key player both on and off the court. Her effort and energy seem to be major additions to the team that will hopefully allow her to lead the team once again in kills this upcoming season.
With her senior season ahead of her and an exciting career in the health field, Brower is ready for the future and all the great things that will come with it.