Farmington High School senior Taylor Suurmeyer is thrilled with the opportunity to continue playing volleyball at the collegiate level – and not just anywhere.
The 6-foot hitter was recruited to be part of the nationally renowned Madonna University program led by legendary coach Jerry Abraham.
The Crusaders are a perennial Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference contender and NAIA power. Abraham is one of the few college coaches with more than 1,000 career victories.
Suurmeyer, who is a straight-A student with a 4.0 grade-point average, received a full academic and athletic scholarship.
“It’s a great thing to be able to play for such a well-ranked team and coach,” Suurmeyer said. “It’s such a family-oriented team; it’s so welcoming there. I loved the campus and the school the first time I was there.
“I was very excited because I had heard so much about Madonna. I knew I wanted to stay fairly close, so my parents could watch me play. I’ll be able to come back home if I need to. It’s a good fit for me.”
Suurmeyer, who can play anywhere in the front row and was an all-round player for the Falcons, will fit well in the volleyball program, too.
She came to the attention of the Madonna coaching staff when she attended a summer program on the Livonia campus last year.
“First and foremost, she’s an outstanding student, an excellent student athlete,” Abraham said. “You could tell she was a hard-working young lady and she had her priorities intact. That fit right in with the kind of kids we recruit.
“She has good size and a good skill set. As we watched her a little more, we could see she had the ability to hit the ball hard. She’s a very smart athlete on the floor.
“We have a very talented recruiting class of eight players. She fits right in and the girls like her. We felt we got a sleeper who is going to be better and better. She just works hard and plays hard.”
Suurmeyer led the Falcons with 313 kills last season. She also had 51 blocks, 101 digs and 37 aces. She earned three varsity letters and concluded her prep career with than 630 kills and 225 blocks and a hitting percentage of more than .350.
In addition to being named to the all-Observer first team, Suurmeyer earned all-city, all-league and all-region accolades.
She also played three years of varsity basketball and was voted team MVP by her fellow players. Suurmeyer was Farmington’s leading scorer, rebounder and shot blocker.
While she can play any position along the net, Suurmeyer anticipates playing in the middle for the Crusaders.
“I think middle hitter is her strength, that I’ve seen her play so far,” Abraham said. “There’s no pressure on her being a starter right away, because we have players returning from a talented team.
“She complements a very talented class of eight strong recruits. She works hard and has good athleticism. It’s nice to find a local player who fits into what we’re looking for.”
“There will be a lot of great people coming in with me,” Suurmeyer said. “I met all of them at a banquet they invited us to. They all seem great. They actually have someone coming over from New Zealand, which is awesome.”
Suurmeyer can expect to do a little traveling herself as the Crusaders are often flying somewhere for postseason tournaments.
“I get the best of both; I’ll get to see other places in the country and stay home, too,” she said.
Suurmeyer, who plans to study biology and become a high school teacher, looks forward to a good experience playing college volleyball.
“I know I’ll grow as a player,” she said. “(Abraham) always encourages me even though I haven’t started playing for him yet. It’s a great program and I’m really excited.”