Simmons: Do What you Love - For Me, That's Volleyball

By Deb Stadick | July 03, 2013, 3:16 p.m. (ET)

by Deb Stadick for USA Volleyball

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WNT A2 Roster and Schedule

DALLAS (July 3, 2013) - Moneshia Simmons (Buford, Ga.) has spent the last nine days training and competing with the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball A2 Program (WNTA2) at the Dallas Convention Center. The experience has left her raring and ready to take the court this fall for her senior season at Clemson University.

The power-house outside hitter started her volleyball career six years ago after her mother and sister encouraged her to try out for the high school team.

“My sister actually encouraged me to tryout,” Simmons said. “Basketball had been my thing, but my mom and my sister were like ‘Why not try it for fun!?’ So I did. And it was fun!”

Simmons excelled at both volleyball and basketball in high school and was struggling to decide which she wanted to pursue long-term. Her sister once again stepped in with some advice.

“She told me to do whichever one I was having fun with,” Simmons said. “I was like ‘Oh, that’s volleyball.’ It wasn’t even a question. I have a blast playing.”

Simmons’ passion for the game led her to continue her career at Clemson University, and she isn’t planning on leaving the sport even after that.

“Right now, I am majoring in communications studies and minoring in American sign language,” Simmons said. “But my plan is to stay around volleyball for a while before pursuing a career in that. I want to play overseas, and my dream job is to coach.”

Simmons’ already has a head start on her coaching career. Every summer, she coaches camps at Clemson University, as well as at her high school. She plans on coaching an additional college camp this summer as well.

“I just love coaching,” Simmons said. “I love working with kids and watching them learn and grow.”

Simmons also plans on coaching club volleyball next fall following her senior season.

“I haven’t been able to do club while playing in college,” Simmons said. “Now that I am done, I plan on starting to do that as well.”

Simmons would love to coach for a NCAA Division I collegiate team or high school varsity.

“I feel like those are the two ages I could connect with,” Simmons said. “With high school varsity, I would be preparing players to go do what I did and play college volleyball. I would be able to help them know what to expect and learn solid fundamentals going into it. DI would be awesome because it would be back at the same level of competition I am used to playing at, once again allowing me to relate and hopefully excel as a coach.”

Reflecting back on her career, how she started and the helpful advice she received along the way, Simmons is passing on some advice of her own to aspiring young athletes.

“Do what you love,” Simmons said. “And go hard at it all the time. There are no ifs and buts in life. You don’t get to change the outcome after the fact with a ‘what if I went for that ball’ or ‘what if I took that opportunity’ moment. You get one shot and you go for it right then and there. Make the most of it.”

Simmons has done exactly that throughout her career, and competing with the WNTA2 team is one of those times she saw an opportunity and went for it.

Coming away from the experience, she feels ready to take the court and dominate this year in her collegiate season.

“I always walk away from USAV programs feeling on fire,” Simmons said. “I came back last time feeling like I was pounding the ball and like my own skills had improved so much. I can’t wait to get back at it this fall.”

But it isn’t just her own skills that improve as a result of Simmons participating in USAV programs.

“I feel like I bring back so much to my team,” Simmons said. “The level of competition here is unreal. I carry that back with me and it rubs off on my teammates. We all get better and start getting after it harder. The level of play just elevates. It is so much fun.”

With six years of experience as a player and unlimited passion for the game, it is no doubt that Simmons will excel in her next volleyball adventure after this final collegiate season, whether it be on the court or on the sidelines.

June 29
Gold def. Blue 25-21, 25-23, 21-25, 19-25, 15-10 (Stats)
Red def. White 27-25, 18-25, 18-25, 25-23, 15-12 (Stats)

June 30
Blue def. Red 25-23, 23-25, 20-25, 25-23, 15-11 (Stats)
White def. Gold 29-27, 20-25, 29-27, 25-18 (Stats)

July 1
Gold def. Red 25-23, 22-25, 25-21, 25-14 (Stats)
White def. Blue 25-18, 27-25, 23-25, 18-25, 15-11 (Stats)

July 2 - Semifinals
#2 Gold def. #3 Blue 23-25, 25-22, 25-17, 25-23 (stats coming soon)
#1 White def. #4 Red 25-19, 21-25, 25-23, 25-16 (stats coming soon)

July 3
#3 Blue vs. #4 Red, 3 p.m. CT (bronze)
#1 White vs. #2 Gold, 5:30 p.m. CT (gold)

Name (Position, College, Hometown, Remaining Eligibility, Club)
5-Mackenzie Bigbee (Opp, Iowa State University, Williamsburg, Iowa, 3, Six pack)
9-Annemarie Hickey (L/DS, University of Wisconsin, Oswego, Ill., 1, 1st Alliance)
10-Deedra Foss (S, Colorado State University, McKenna, Wash., 2, Kent Juniors)
16-Elizabeth Koberstein (S, Marquette University, Madison, Wis., 1, Capital)
17-Taylor Simpson (OH, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Colo., 2, Colorado Juniors)
20-Veronica Lewis (L/DS, University of Arizona, San Jose, Calif., 2, Vision)
30-Maddy Klineman (OH, UCLA, Manhattan Beach, Calif., 3, Rockstar)
34- Alexis Mathews (MB, Michigan State University, Detroit, Mich., 1, The Victors)
36- Zoe Nightingale (MB, UCLA, Sacramento, Calif., 2, SynergyForce)
37-Morgan Odale (OH, University of Utah, Star, Idaho, 1, Idaho Stars)
45-Litara Keil (MB, Loyola Marymount University, Long Beach, Calif., 2, Sports Shack)
47- Nicole Walch (OH, Florida State University, Stuart, Fla., 3, Treasure Coast)
Coaches: Andy Banachowski, Linda Hampton

Name (Position, College, Hometown, Remaining Eligibility, Club)
3-Caitlin Welch (L/DS, University of Louisville, Louisville, Ky., 1, MAVA)
8-Casey Hinger (MB, Cal State Northridge, Fullerton, Calif., 2, Cal Juniors)
14- Hannah Johnson (S, University of New Mexico, Longview, Wash., 3, Cowlitz)
15-Kierra Jones (MB, Purdue University, Fishers, Ind., 2, Munciana)
21-Kori Moster (L/DS, Michigan State University, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2, Team Z)
23-Valerie Nichol (Opp, Purdue University, Normal, Ill, 2, Illini Elite)
24-Chelsey Schofield (OH, University of Utah, Provo, Utah, 2, Club Utah)
32- Kathleen Luft (OH, Loyola Marymount University, Thousand Oaks, Calif., 1, Santa Monica)
33- Tai Manu-Olevao (OH, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, 3, Asics Rainbows)
40- Mita Uiato (S, University of Hawaii, Long Beach, Calif., 1, Laguna Beach)
42-Courtney Windham (MB, University of North Texas, Houston, Texas, 1, Willowbrook)
44- Moneshia Simmons (Opp, Clemson University, Buford, Ga., 1, NFC Volleyball)
Coaches: Bill Neville and Ashley Allen

Name (Position, College, Hometown, Remaining Eligibility, Club)
6- Whitney Billings (Opp, University of Kentucky, Helena, Ala., 1, Birmingham Volleyball)
7- Carly Cramer (L/DS, Purdue University, Martinsville, Ind., 1, Circle City)
11-Ashley Battle (Opp, Virginia Tech, Apex, N.C., 4, Club Red)
18- Hannah Kvitle (S, University of Louisville, Quincy, Ill., 2, STL CYC)
19-Kaitlyn Leary (OH, Ohio State University, Parma, Ohio, 1, CVC)
27- Ellen Chapman (OH, University of Wisconsin, Glenview, Ill., 2, Sky High)
31-Kathryn LeCheminant (MB, Brigham Young University, Layton, Utah, 1, Club V)
35-Brooke Mattingly (MB, University of Louisville, St. Henry, Ohio, 1, Team Atlantis)
38- DeLaina Sarden (MB, University of Central Florida, Lawrenceville, Ga., 2, A5 Mizuno)
39-Courtney Thomas (S, University of Wisconsin, DeKalb, Ill., 2, Mizuno SPVB)
41-Lauren Wicinski (OH, Michigan State University, Geneva, Ill., 1, Kane County)
Coaches: Mike Hebert and Marci Sanders

Name (Position, College, Hometown, Remaining Eligibility, Club)
1- Kristen Hahn (L/DS, Iowa State University, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1, Six Pack)
2- Chantale Riddle (Opp, University of New Mexico, Roswell, N.M., 2, N.A.)
12-Adreene Elliott (MB, University of Maryland, Winston-Salem, N.C., 2, Set Point)
13-Kimberly Dahl (OH, Brigham Young University, Pleasant Grove, Utah, 3, Club Utah)
22- Ellen Mullins (L/DS, University of Tennessee, Nashville, Tenn., 1, Nashville One)
25- Mackenzie Dagostino (S, University of Maryland, Tampa, Fla., 3, Tampa Bay Juniors)
26- Simone Antwi (MB, University of Florida, Fairfax Station, Va., 3, Virginia Elite)
28-Annie Drews (Opp, Purdue University, Elkhart, Ind., 3, NIVA Juniors)
29-Victoria Hurtt (OH, Iowa State University, Kansas City, Mo., 3, KC Extreme)
43-Ashley Wittman (OH, University of Minnesota, Shakopee, Minn., 1, Northern Lights)
46-Hannah Tedrow (S, Loyola Marymount University, Foothill Ranch, Calif., 3, Surf City)
48-Ariana Williams (MB, University of Oregon, Riverside, Calif., 1, Club West)
Coaches: Ruth Nelson and Mike Gawlik

*Technical coaches with all WNTA2 teams are Jay Van Vark, Ted Wade and Nicki Holmes