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NNU ‘In very good hands:’ RC setter signs letter of intent

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NNU ‘In very good hands:’ RC setter signs letter of intent

Ripon Christian High senior Michelle Terpstra shares a quick laugh with teammates while signing her letter of intent to play for Northwest Nazarene University.


POSTED November 11, 2010 2:10 a.m.
Northwest Nazarene University head volleyball coach Jared Sliger doesn’t mind putting the ball in the hands of a freshman, especially one with the talent of Ripon Christian setter Michelle Terpstra.

“I feel that my setter position is in very good hands for a while,” he said.

But Sliger said there is much more to Terpstra than a soft set of hands.
Flanked by her sister, Andrea, parents, Mike and Holly, and teammates, Terpstra inked her letter of intent on National Signing Day Tuesday in Ripon Christian’s administration building to play for the NCAA Division-II school out of Nampa, Idaho.

Sliger compares the setter position to that of the quarterback in football, the point guard basketball and the starting pitcher in baseball.

He believes Terpstra possesses all the intangibles and physical skill to be put in that role, even as a true freshman next year.

“We project to have Michelle in the mix with the group we have right now,” he said. “We’re graduating one player, our libero (Haley Hevern), so we have a good nucleus returning.

“There are going to be challenges for some of the players to hang on to their positions because of Michelle’s leadership and aggressiveness, so we’re going to push everyone else to get better.

“I definitely see her contributing. She’s got a lot of tools and a lot of skills that are at a very high level.”

Northwest Nazarene is 4-12 with one regular-season match to go in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, and 6-16 overall.

But before helping the Crusaders attempt a quick turnaround, Terpstra, who will be in action tonight against Vacaville Christian in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division V postseason semifinal match, aims to lead Ripon Christian (25-7) to its fourth straight section championship and the program’s 14th overall.

Terpstra is glad to get the process, which included a visit to the campus and a scrimmage with the team, out of the way, allowing her to focus on the rest of her senior year.
“It was really fun,” Terpstra said. “Everyone there is really cool and really nice. I got to play with the team a little bit and we all meshed well.”

Terpstra’s parents are both NNU alumni. Andrea Terpstra, a 2009 RC graduate, accepted a scholarship offer to play for University of the Pacific out of high school.

“I look up to her so much, so following in her footsteps is awesome,” Michelle said of big sis.

Terpstra, a late bloomer in volleyball, said she used to envision playing collegiately in basketball. Like her sister, she dropped basketball after her freshman year at RC to concentrate solely on volleyball.

Ripon Christian head coach Tiger Shelton said her transition to full-time volleyball player was seamless.

“Athletically, she had what it took,” he said. “It’s easy for an athlete to (improve by) leaps and bounds in any sport, and Michelle is an athlete.”

Terpstra will continue to hone her skills after the high school season is finished. She will play for the Delta Valley Volleyball Club under the tutelage of coach Katie Goldhahn, the setter for Standford University’s 2004 NCAA championship team.

“This is a dream come true,” Terpstra said. “Now I just have to keep working hard over the summer to get ready. To be able to make the next step to collegiate volleyball is really exciting.”
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