By Jon Gremmels
Herald Sports Editor
CLINTON — Wearing the Meyermann name on your uniform carries some pressure, but Camanche’s Shea Meyermann has made a name for herself at Upper Iowa University.
Meyermann, a senior, has helped the Peacocks to a 5-0 start in volleyball this fall. The fifth win came Tuesday in a 3-0 win at Ashford, a homecoming for Meyermann that ended with her scoring the final point with a kill.
“I got goosebumps,” she said of the finish. “It was nice.
“It’s really nice being a senior and being able to come home and have all of my friends and family come and support me here.”
The Meyermann family is synonymous with Camanche volleyball. Sara, the oldest of the three sisters, was an All-Big Ten player for Iowa in 2001. Drew played at Drake. Both had finished their college careers by the time Shea capped her senior season with the Indians by earning second-team all-state honors and being named Clinton Herald Player of the Year in 2005.
“There’s a little bit of pressure, but my family has been so supportive throughout the whole thing for me and all my sisters,” Shea Meyermann said.
When it came time for Shea to make a college choice, she settled on Upper Iowa, a fledgling NCAA Division II program.
“It’s definitely an honor to be able to play Division II,” she said. “It’s kind of what I always wanted to do. It’s been kind of difficult in building; we’ve had some rough times starting out. I feel we’ve made some huge strides and really big improvement.
“Our team has been building, and I know this year is by far the strongest year that I’ve been with them. Our freshman class is really strong this year. Our defense has really improved this year. That’s probably the biggest thing.”
Like her team, Meyermann said she has improved, too. She has finished first or second on the team in kills and digs each season.
“My defense has gotten a lot better,” she said. “I play middle back now. I used to set in high school. Outside hitting is the same. Obviously that has improved, too.”
The Peacocks went 7-25 in Meyermann’s freshman season, the program’s second in Division II. They followed up with a 4-26 record in 2007 and 11-21 last season.
“I think every year we’ve improved,” she said. “We’ve gotten a few more wins than the last year. The hardest part would be that our team is ranked probably 13 out of 14 in the preseason polls this year. Probably the hardest part is the big competition. We’ve got some really tough teams (in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference).”
Defending national champion Concordia-St. Paul is one of them. The tough competition has resulted in a 5-51 NSIC record during Meyermann’s three seasons at Upper Iowa.
The competition not only is tough, it’s far away for Upper Iowa, the only Division II school in Iowa. The 14-team league has nine schools in Minnesota, two in South Dakota and one in North Dakota.
“It is long-distance travel a lot of times, going to Minnesota and Mary up in North Dakota, so it’s nice to be able to come here and play and be close to home,” Meyermann said after the win Tuesday at Ashford’s Kehl Arena.
One thing that feels similar to home is the size of the town. Upper Iowa is located in the northeast Iowa town of Fayette, a smaller town (population 1,258) than Camanche (4,280), with no Clinton next door.
“The small-town atmosphere definitely is similar to Camanche,” Meyermann said. “Being able to know everybody and wave and say hi to everybody on the streets is always nice. It is a little different. We do have the Quad Cities here and Clinton. We’ve got to drive about 30 minutes to get to the nearest Wal-Mart, so that’s kind of hard on groceries and stuff. Otherwise it’s what I wanted: a small town just like Camanche.”
Like Camanche, without the shadow of the big sisters and the added pressure of being a Meyermann on the volleyball court.
By Jon Gremmels