“Playing club gave me the opportunity to learn from high-level coaches, play with extremely-talented athletes from opposing schools, and to continue to push the level of competition as I played against some girls that were Big 10 athletes,” Gillen said.
MONMOUTH — Carly Gillen still has her senior year of volleyball left at Monmouth-Roseville High School. She’s hoping the Titans can win a regional championship and make their mark in the postseason.
But the last couple of years, Gillen has traveled to play club volleyball against some highly-talented athletes and she has gotten great exposure. The opportunity has led her to a scholarship to continue her volleyball career at the University of Missouri—Kansas City.
“Playing club gave me the opportunity to learn from high-level coaches, play with extremely-talented athletes from opposing schools, and to continue to push the level of competition as I played against some girls that were Big 10 athletes,” Gillen said. “Club not only helped advance my skill set, but it gave me more confidence in my play. Teammates and coaches challenged me to test my ability and rise to the occasion as I found myself playing against girls with a higher skill set. As I learned and adjusted to club, the high level of competition helped to speed up my game and find ways to score.”
Other colleges that showed interest in Gillen were Bradley University, Lewis University, Parkland Community College, Illinois Wesleyan University and the University of Indianapolis.
Gillen said it was an easy decision to decide on playing volleyball at UMKC.
“Getting to know and learn about the coaches, the program and the school overall, it was a great fit for me as a student-athlete,” she said. “Coach (Christi) Posey showed a lot of interest in me being a diverse middle/right side running a fast-tempo offense off of one foot running behind the setter. The style which they run their offense suits me well as a player and the values established between coaches and players made me feel right at home.”
The timing of Gillen going to UMKC could not be any better, especially when you look at the school’s facilities.
Next month, the Swinney Recreation Center, which houses the Kangaroos’ home court, will start to undergo a $1.5 million facility upgrade. UMKC went 21-11 overall this past season with matches against Grand Canyon (at Phoenix, Arizona), New Mexico State University, Kansas State, Bradley, Arkansas State and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Gillen likes the uniqueness of the school’s nickname.
“It is a very original mascot and (I’m) looking forward to having a ton of roo gear,” she said.
Away from volleyball, Gillen has put her stamp on the basketball court. She already has over 1,000 points and close to 500 rebounds on the varsity level.
Mon-Rose volleyball coach coach Laura Anton has kept in contact with Gillen during the entire recruiting process and is excited for her star player.
“As her coach, I will forever remember her calling me and hearing her excitement in her voice that she was given an offer,” Anton said. “We as a program are so thankful to have had Carly as a Titan the past three years and we are looking forward to our 2019 season with her as a leader, and essential part of the team. I have no doubt that the University of Missouri—Kansas City will be her happy place for her four years of college. I look forward to going to watch her play at the next level and seeing where this opportunity takes her.
“It’s no secret Carly is filled with talent. Behind her talent is a very driven individual. Carly balances school, fall volleyball, winter basketball and club volleyball while holding a job as well. It’s hard to find motivated student-athletes and Carly has the perseverance in herself to do well.”
Academically, Gillen said UMKC gives her several options with a 4.5 grade point average. She’s already taken dual-credit courses in high school which should help her have a flexible schedule in college. She’s planning to major in health science, which is one of UMKC’s top programs.