By PAUL GADBOIS-DN Sports Editor 12/30/2006 09:55:54
From Red Bluff High School to Arizona to Minnesota, Meghan Cumpston is a well-traveled volleyball player and student.
Her next step is all about the love of the game, however, as she recently accepted an offer to play professionally for the Corozal Pinkin of Puerto Rico's Superior Feminine Volleyball League.
A 2002 graduate of RBHS, Cumpston just finished her Bachelor's Degree in Animal Science at Minnesota after leading the Lady Gophers to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division I Volleyball Tournament.
Her final collegiate match was a 3-2 loss against Nebraska in the Regional finals on Dec. 9, and because she red-shirted her first year at Arizona, she graduated this month. That also gave Cumpston a unique opportunity, because most of the top college prospects wouldn't be available for recruitment until after graduation in the spring, which made her a hot commodity.
"I was packed up and ready to go home and get a job when they called," Cumpston said. "I've been playing volleyball since the sixth grade and thought I had just played my last game. It all happened so fast, within four days."
Needless to say, her plans changed.
She received a call from a different Puerto Rican team at first, then got an agent and fielded offers from three other pro clubs, from Spain, Italy and Indonesia. Cumpston sought advice from her college coaches and a former teammate at Arizona, Kim Glass, who was already playing for the Pinkin. But rather than see her old teammate sign with a rival club, Glass dropped Cumpston's name to her Pinkin coach, Steven Fenosik, to get the ball rolling on what turned out to be the most enticing deal.
Cumpston said the Corozal-based team offered her the most money of the five interested parties, and having a familiar face on the team also weighed her decision to play sign with the Pinkin. There also wasn't much time to decide, according to Cumpston, as Fenosik's deal was only on the table for 24 hours. The rest is history. Cumpston will earn a salary for the four-month season along with the possibility of several bonuses. She also gets an apartment and transportation accommodations for the season as part of her contract.
The 6'1" outside hitter led her Minnesota teammates and tied for the Big 10 lead in service aces with 50 during her senior year and was third in aces per game with 0.4.
Cumpston's collegiate career ended in Gainesville, Fla., where the Lady Gophers lost to the eventual champions after leading 2-0.
Cumpston made an immediate impact at Minnesota after spending her first two seasons at the University of Arizona, averaging over three kills per game as a junior and tallying double-figures in kills 11 times.
At Arizona, Cumpston earned a pair of All-Tournament selections her sophomore year and made a name for herself as a clutch player, stepping up to play her best matches against ranked teams. In high school, Cumpston was a two-time All-League and All-Section performer, and holds the Lady Spartans' record for kills in a single season. She was a tri-sport athlete, earning three varsity letters in basketball as well as volleyball and setting the school record for long jump in track and field.