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Clarion University’s London Fuller Recalls USA Volleyball National Team Open Program and Historic Junior Season

Thursday, March 10, 2022 @ 12:03 AM

Posted by Nate Steis

London FullerCLARION, Pa. (EYT) – A little under three years ago, London Fuller was a young woman in a new town who had difficulties finding her stride.

(Photos courtesy of Clarion University Sports Information.)

Fast forward to the 2021-22 school year at Clarion University, and people on the outside may never have known the struggles it has taken the reigning First-Team All-PSAC selection to have a school year like she has.

“I’m still in shock,” said Fuller about the past season she had for the Golden Eagles and having the chance to attend the USA Volleyball National Team Open Program last month. “I am still trying to get used to it because I was a timid freshman who had thoughts of quitting volleyball a couple of years ago.”

It has hardly been easy as Fuller played in just four matches as a freshman for the Golden Eagles. This paired with a canceled fall season in 2020 and an ankle injury in the spring of 2021 made her first two years as a collegiate student-athlete about as difficult as imagined. On top of this, Fuller was moving from Baltimore, Maryland, to rural Clarion, Pennsylvania. With this in mind, her comfortability and familiarity were both changed.

“I finally came to a point of recognition through this and realized that I just needed to trust the process,” said Fuller. “People continued to support me and remind me that things do not always happen right away, even if you want them to. I got into a clear space, trusted that process, worked hard, and better things happened.”

Fuller was named a starter in her junior year for the Golden Eagles, and the Maryland native responded. In 32 matches she racked up 1,232 assists, and 293 digs for the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Tournament Champions. With the conference title, they qualified to play in the NCAA Tournament as a part of the eight teams that qualified from the entire Atlantic Region.

However, this may undersell their path to the NCAA Tournament.

After a road win over Edinboro, the number two seed out of the PSAC West and a program they lost to twice during the regular season, they defeated the number one seed out of the PSAC East, East Stroudsburg, at their own gym. With East Stroudsburg hosting both the semifinals and final match for the 2021 PSAC Volleyball Tournament, they remained in East Stroudsburg and defeated the Gannon University Golden Knights, the number one seed out of the PSAC West, in three straight sets.

From her play as a setter, she was named an American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Region selection, an AVCA Honorable Mention All-American, and a First-Team All-PSAC performer. This after already winning the designation as having the most assists per set played in the entire PSAC with 10.93 assists per set and the 17th highest assists per set in all of Division II volleyball in 2021.

“When a family member told me I was 17th in the nation in assists per set, that really made me feel like I was doing something and making a difference. I really felt like a big part of the team. For the first 10 or 11 years of my career, I tried to not recognize myself, but after this season at Clarion, I finally came out of my shell and did not have those mental roadblocks that I once had.”

London Fuller 1

Since the fall semester, Fuller has made it her goal to continue to improve as an athlete, with one step seeing how she stacks up amongst all of college volleyball at the 2022 USA Volleyball National Team Open Program held in Colorado Springs, Colorado, from February 25 through 27. While it was a chance to represent USA Volleyball, it was also a chance to prepare for a potential professional career overseas, as well as prove that the division and name of the school does not matter.

“It was a different ball game at first because it was a faster pace,” Fuller explained. “I learned quickly and was able to keep up with it. Overall, it was an amazing experience to meet girls from all over the country and see how hungry I have to be to keep up with some of those players.”

While the three days flew by, it was an experience that has her excited for the next opportunity to get seen by USA Volleyball and to get back on the court with her teammates.

“I am ready to show out and be better than I was this past fall season,” Fuller said. “I want more chances to continue to prove that Division II volleyball features players that are just as good as Division I. The coaches from USA Volleyball told me it was a slim chance to make a USA team from a Division II school, but I want to help to put Division II volleyball and small college volleyball on the map.”

Though this school year has been a great one in terms of her success as an athlete, Fuller’s bigger purpose remains to become a veterinarian one day. She hopes to start this journey a few years down the road after hopefully enjoying some time playing as a professional athlete in Europe. For now, she’s focused on her two remaining seasons as a Clarion Golden Eagle and continuing to make Clarion University a threat in the PSAC and all of Division II volleyball.

London Fuller

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