Name: Melissa Ann Courtney
Once upon a time within the confines of a Moby Arena dynasty, there ruled a Long Beach, Calif., native who played volleyball. She played volleyball so well that she attained fame outside her own kingdom walls and was known far and wide amid the jagged slopes of the Mountain West Conference.
Accolades showered this fierce competitor, anointing her as the 2004 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year and 2003's Co-MWC Player of the Year, Setter of the Year, MWC Tournament Setter of the Year and Honorable Mention All-American selection. She was also hailed as a member of the MWC All-American team and was deemed the most valuable player in myriad tournaments.
Transcending assist records and serving milestones set by previous leaders, this athlete compiled a staggering 4,319 assists (to date) to rank fourth in CSU history. She also joined the elite top 10 in assists per game in the vast realm of the NCAA. The list goes on and on.
Despite these achievements, this natural leader is characterized by teammates as "kind of sassy," and one who "smiles a lot." She is worried about coming off as conceited when humbly describing herself as a consistent player.
As setter for the Rams, senior Melissa Courtney is the mortar that holds the bricks of the CSU volleyball team together, like the cream filling in Oreos or the chorus between verses in a song. She is the link between pass and kill, working in the synapse of adrenaline rushes and contracting muscles.
In this capacity, life and volleyball are inextricably coupled. However, when Courtney and her teammates are not busy defending their turf on the court, she enjoys brief sabbaticals at her house and hanging out with her "awesome" roommates. She also talks on the phone a lot to her family, especially her mom.
This close family connection is also evident in Courtney's potential tattoo idea. "It would be two four-leaf clovers for three reasons. First, I'm Irish. Second, they're lucky. Third, they represent my grandparents. That's why I would get two of them," Courtney said.
Chilling in sweats and watching "Dirty Dancing," her cinematic favorite, is a luxury for this busy student-athlete. She also enjoys reading Us Weekly magazine religiously.
"I have to buy that every week because there is so much fun gossip in it," Courtney said.
Fear is not a common emotion exhibited by Courtney on a volleyball court, but drowning tops her list of sheer terrors. This doesn't keep her away from a surfboard when she goes home to Long Beach, however.
"For some reason in the ocean I don't fear drowning," Courtney said. "A lot of people fear the ocean, but I love it. I think it is just because I grew up there."
The ingrained pull of the ocean and the warm California sun transport this tale back to Courtney's stomping grounds in Long Beach. She plans to return to the beaches once her tenure at college is complete and her CSU volleyball dynasty is handed down to the next generation.
After the season is over and her time at CSU comes to an end, Courtney will attempt to live a happily-ever-after, volleyball-laced existence. She would like to play beach doubles if she can find a good partner. If that doesn't work out, she plans to get a job in some facet of human development and family studies.
Nonetheless, Courtney said this is far from her ideal at the moment.
"Getting a job is the last thing I want to do when I move back, so it is at the bottom of the list. I'm not ready to grow up yet," Courtney said.