Black Signs Professional Volleyball Contract
The opportunity to play professionally is a dream come true for the 5-10 Amarillo, Texas, native.
"When I woke up this morning and saw the email I was ecstatic," Black said. "I didn't care what it said, where I was going, what the conditions were. I just wanted to go. I've been telling my mom and dad and everyone else who would listen from the very beginning that I just want to go play. I don't have volleyball out of my system yet, and I don't think I'm anywhere close to having it out of my system.
"I don't know a lot about the team. I saw that they were eighth in the league last year, but all the numbers are really close between nine of the 10 teams. I'm just excited to go be a part of it and hopefully make it a little more competitive on our end and see what I can do at the next level."
A two-year starting outside hitter for the Aggies, Black recently completed her collegiate career after leading the Aggies to a 23-8 record - A&M's most wins since 2003 -- and to the second round of the 2011 NCAA Championship. The team captain garnered numerous honors along the way, including All-Central Region Team accolades from the American Volleyball Coaches Association. Black also made her second consecutive appearance on the All-Big 12 First Team, receiving a unanimous vote from the conference coaches in 2011.
"With all of her skill, talent and ability, it just makes sense that Kelsey play at the next level," A&M coach Laurie Corbelli said. "To be a unanimous selection to the All-Big 12 team, that takes a lot and means she is respected all the way around. Even in this day and age of players at the net playing so high above the net, she is so quick and athletic and jumps high enough to be able to compete with the so-called taller and bigger players."
A three-time tournament MVP selection this season, Black led the Aggies and was ranked in the top 10 in the Big 12 in kills (3.26) and points (3.80) per set. She also was in the top 10 in the league in aces (0.25) and digs (3.29) per set.
"Kelsey is incredibly versatile, plays all positions, loves to perform and is a lot of fun to watch," Corbelli added. "We're just really proud of her. It is an exciting time for her to see this dream come true. We will certainly miss her in our program, but I think she'll thrive beautifully in the pro league in Puerto Rico."
Black, a university studies major, will graduate from A&M next week.
"A&M has done a fantastic job of molding me into someone who is ready to go out and take the next step," Black said. "I think one of the biggest things that I'm taking away from here is confidence in what I am, where I've been and what I've done, and that is pretty unique to this university and the type of people that you come in contact with along the way."
Black plans to play as long as possible and still stay involved with the sport when her playing days come to an end.
"I'm going to play until they tell me I can't anymore; basically until they kick me out the door," she said. "I'm hoping to be a part of the sport whether it be on the court or in the sand. I definitely don't think I'll ever be able to get away from it."
A two-time bronze medalist as a member of the USA Volleyball A2 Program, Black expects to try out for the USA National Team when her rookie professional season concludes in May and is prepared to go wherever the sport leads her next.
"Then I'll see where else I can play, who wants me after that," Black said. "I want to play year-round until they tell me not to any more."
Whenever her playing days do come to an end, Black wants to coach and be a recruiting coordinator at the college level.
"I think it is so fun to watch younger players and be able to look at them and foresee what you think they can be by the time they are seniors in college," Black said. "I just find it is so exciting, and I think it is something I definitely would really enjoy, taking that original thought and formulating a plan to get the player from point A to point B. And it is the type of job where you can measure your success, so I'm looking forward to that."
Black concluded, "I just love the sport; I can't get away from it."