By Owen Gotimer
*Update (11/17/2015): Broad Run High School senior Elise Dumouchelle has officially signed her National Letter of Intent to play volleyball at Saint Francis University.
Ashburn (September 3, 2015) — Broad Run High School senior Elise Dumouchelle has made a commitment to continue her volleyball career at Saint Francis University starting in the 2016-2017 school year.
“Starting senior year already knowing where I am going to be next year makes me feel like I actually have the opportunity to enjoy my senior year and not stress about when my acceptance letters are going to come in,” the 5-foot-10 Dumouchelle said. “I am also nervous though. I know being a DI athlete is going to be hard, and I am trying to mentally and physically prepare myself, so I’m not super overwhelmed my freshman year. Just because I know where I am going to be for the next step in my academic and athletic career, I’m not going to let that be a reason for me to slack off my senior year.”
Broad Run can certainly not slack off this season as the Spartans will not have an easy path to the Conference 14 title or VHSL 5A North region playoffs in 2015 as they have to go through the most daunting conference in LoCo including reigning VHSL 5A state champion Briar Woods High School, reigning VHSL 5A state semifinalist Stone Bridge High School and North Carolina-commit Holly Carlton and the pesky Panthers of Potomac Falls High School.
Sitting at 1-2 after an August 27 win over Robinson, Dumouchelle noted Broad Run is ready for the challenge this season.
“I am expecting us to make it pretty far into the postseason. Last year’s postseason record was something that was out of the ordinary for us. The year before, we had gone to states and the year before that we made it to the region,” said Dumouchelle who plays club volleyball for Virginia Elite 18s. “I find the team this year similar to the same team that I went to states with my sophomore year in the way that we have smart pin hitters, a beast middle hitter, some great pairs of hands for setting and a stacked defense. Of course, we still need to get our on-court chemistry in sync, but once that happens, we will be a force to be reckoned with.”
While Dumouchelle prepares for her last season at Broad Run, she can also look forward to joining a Division I Red Flash team at Saint Francis which is currently being rebuilt by second year head coach Jason Kozak.
Off to a slow 1-4 start in 2015, Kozak led the Red Flash to a 12-17 finish in 2014 which included a trip to the Northeast Conference playoffs after finishing 8-6 in the conference.
The 12-17 season was a vast improvement from a season before — when previous head coach Chuck Mullen led Saint Francis to a 5-22 record – and the second highest season winning percentage for the Red Flash since their last winning season in 2006 under then-head coach Scott Gleason.
“I may be a short offensive player, but I am known for my kills in smart spots rather than my ten-foot line kills,” said Dumouchelle who will play outside hitter at Saint Francis. “I will also be aiding the team on their serve receive as well as their defense.”
Nestled in the center of Pennsylvania, Saint Francis University is a private, liberal arts school which offered Dumouchelle an athletic opportunity she never though she would have.
“I picked SFU because of the connection I felt with the team on my visit,” Dumouchelle said. “They are giving me the opportunity to play front row at the DI level, they have my major — which will be Spanish international business – and they have a high percentage of student-athletes on campus. I also feel comfortable and safe while on campus.”
After starting volleyball in middle school, Dumouchelle eventually gave up her lifelong sport of soccer to pursue the sport she would take with her to college.
“I play volleyball because I love the competition. Plus, there is no other sport that requires the players to act more like a team than volleyball. In volleyball, the passers need the blockers and the setters need the passers and the hitters need the setters,” said Dumouchelle who was named an All-LoCo honorable mention last fall. “I love playing the game because volleyball is so unpredictable. I love the connection I feel with my teammates on the court, and the better the teams we play are, the more fun we have playing them. When I see my teammates working hard and doing well, it makes me happy and proud, and I want to work hard and do well, so they can be happy and proud too.”