From B team to college ball

All-State volleyball honoree Grossman signs to Drury

By Kyle Troutman

Cassville senior Emerson Grossman began her volleyball journey in seventh grade, placed on the B team and unsure if the sport would offer true potential.

Five years later, Grossman is Class 3 All-State, and on Dec. 20, she signed a letter of intent to continue her career at Drury University in 2024.

“It’s surreal to think about me in eighth grade to now — it’s crazy,” she said. “It’s been worth every sacrifice I’ve made, and I’m so excited.”

Grossman said her final year of middle school was a challenge, and she did not know if she would keep up with the sport. A major factor in her success was joining club teams over the years, playing volleyball not just in the fall, but year-round.

“I started in seventh grade, which was pretty behind since most girls start at age 10,” she said. “I was on the B team, and in eighth grade, I barely made the A team. For a period then, I didn’t think it was going anywhere, but the dynamic completely changed in high school. I made a lot of sacrifices playing club and spending time playing volleyball. That’s pushed me to where I am now.

“Club helped immensely. Getting those touches year-round allowed me to improve on small things I would not have been able to improve on just playing school ball.”

Paige Huddleston, second-year volleyball coach at Cassville, said Grossman’s dedication to the game and to the team have been a joy.

“Words cannot describe how happy I am for her,” Huddleston said. “I only had her two years, but she is a hard worker in school and in club, and the way she goes about things, in the gym and in the weight room, she has a fire passion for it. I’m beyond proud for her and this next chapter.”

At 6-1, Grossman’s legacy at Cassville is as an outside hitter, setting two school records this season with 72 aces in a season and a career ace percentage of 17.3 percent. Huddleston said though her play on the floor is exceptional, it’s not the only part of her game that excels.

“Her leadership has played a huge role,” Huddleston said. “She’s been a captain both years I have been here, and she is a natural leader of the team. She is very positive and wants everyone to succeed on and off the floor. And, because of the time she has put in, her skills, which exemplify her work ethic, can take her anywhere. She will do great things at Drury, and they are blessed to have her.”

Looking back at her time at Cassville, the moments Grossman cherish the most are not necessarily on the floor.

“For me, the best part is the small moments and memories I’ve made with friends, meeting new people and making life-long friendships,” she said.

Looking forward, Grossman said she chose Drury for its volleyball program and its academics, as she plans to go pre-med with the ultimate goal of becoming an orthopedic surgeon.

“I looked into the academics because I am passionate about that, and Drury has an incredible med program,” she said. “And, the coach was kind to reach out and offer me a position on the team.”

Grossman said next fall, she hopes to continue enjoying what she enjoyed in high school.

“I am most excited for ew opportunities to meet new people and to get involved in campus clubs — just get out there,” she said. 

Grossman is the first signee under Huddleston, and the coach said she could not be more proud.

“It’s huge,” Huddleston said. “I want to see these girls chase their dreams and to be able to be a small part of her journey and next step in her volleyball career makes me over-the-moon excited for her.”

Grossman said for athletes looking to reach the next level, no amount of dedication is ever enough.

“It is cliche, but do not give up,” she said. “If you want something, know you can reach it if you give it your all.”

Grossman is the daughter of Melanie and Randy Grossman, of Cassville.