North Kitsap senior Taylor Clodfelder continued the Vikings success in advancing volleyball players from their program into college when she committed to Saint Martin’s University earlier this week.
Clodfelder, a middle blocker who set the school record in blocks this past season, signed her letter of intent at a Wednesday ceremony in front of family, friends and teammates at North Kitsap High School.
Clodfelder said the biggest factor in signing with the Saints, a Division II program that plays in the Great Northwest Conference, is the familial atmosphere head coach Jon Killingbeck and his staff provides to players. Clodfelder found the same family experience when she chose to put aside her dance shoes and pursue volleyball full-time her freshman season at North.
“It was really just the community atmosphere that Saint Martin’s provides,” Clodfelder said. “And the connection I have with the coach really helped.”
Unlike the majority of college-bound volleyball players, Clodfelder didn’t start considering playing until her club coach, Sara Ballas of Washington Elite, put the bug in her ear and convinced her she could play at a high level. Since then, the encouragement and improvement she showed with her dedication were the deciding factors in her decision to pursue a college career.
Linfield was also a consideration for Clodfelder. Former NK standout Hannah Waterman also plays at Linfield and just finished her sophomore season. However, Clodfelder kept coming back to the connection she had with SMU’s Killingbeck.
“He really takes the time to explain to you why you’re doing something instead of just saying ‘this is what you need to do,’” she said. “He really works with preserving your body so you’re not overworking it and I really like that.”
Clodfelder said she glad to be close to home with the college in Olympia, but far enough away to be independent. Clodfelder said she’ll begin the SMU off-season workout plan this summer and will participate in the team camp in July. She wants to major in psychology and minor in education and work in the child development field.
“It’s really kind of a dream come true,” Clodfelder said. “Being able to find someplace that is still at a high level and I fit in really well with only playing the last four years and everything. It really truly was the people I got surrounded with because at North it’s like a big family and I really fell in love with the sport.”