Western Volleyball Standouts Headed to Rival ODAC Programs

As long as they've been playing volleyball, Western Albemarle seniors Marin Crowder, Riley Martin, and Katie Rossberg have always been teammates.

But next fall, they'll be on opposing sides of the net, as they plan to attend rival ODAC schools to continue their volleyball careers. Martin and Rossberg will both play at Randolph-Macon -- the three-time defending ODAC champion -- while Crowder will head to Virginia Wesleyan.

"Ever since I've been playing, I've been on the same team as Marin and Riley. So it's definitely going to be weird," said Rossberg. "But I think we're good enough friends that we can work it out - hopefully."

"It's going to be very interesting," agreed Crowder. "We've already talked about it a lot. We always joke about it. When the day comes it's going to be really weird."

"Marin and I have played volleyball together since we were nine. For me to be her rival now, it's going to be a little strange," said Martin with a laugh. "But we said that we're going to be nice to each other, and not hate each other after this."

Western Albemarle held a brief ceremony Friday afternoon in the school's gymnasium honoring the three girls, who were captains on the 2011 Warrior team that won the program's 11th straight Jefferson District title.

Crowder was a two-year starter for the Warriors She was named first-team all-district and second-team all-region after leading Western with a career-high 450 digs in 2011. And Crowder said her success as a senior helped her decide she wanted to continue playing volleyball in college.

"My junior year, I didn't think I was going to," she said. "Then I got into senior year, and I realized how much I loved the sport, and couldn't let it go. From then on, I knew that I needed to play."

Martin and Rossberg were both first-team all-district and all-region -- and second-team all-state -- selections in 2011. Martin leaves Western with all of the school's setting records, after a team-high 804 assists in 2011; Rossberg led the team with 287 kills.

Both girls admit they didn't plan on being a package deal for a college program -- but they're happy it worked out that way.

"I was probably the least sure about it at first, because I'm really bad with making decisions," said Rossberg. "But she was kind of the one (saying) "they're so good," and I was just like, yeah. It just felt right to do it with her."

"She came to school, and she had a Randolph-Macon sweatshirt on. And she was like, "I signed last night." And I was really happy for her," said Martin. "Then, I think it was about three weeks later, and I was like, "I committed as well." So we were both really excited."

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