By Terry Wood
Special to Volleyblog Seattle
Washington volleyball coach Jim McLaughlin wants to clarify one of his comments included in a Seattle Times report regarding the departure of freshman outside hitter Summer Ross. (Summer Ross transfers from Washington volleyball team, December 28)
Ross, an international beach volleyball junior champion, transferred out of UW in December after one indoor season at Washington in order to focus on sand volleyball.
During an interview last week for The Times report, McLaughlin mentioned, "At one point she wanted to come in late to training to allow her to play on the beach, and I said no, unless we redshirt you. You've got to be here for the team. We can't have a kid coming in at the end of August. (UW started fall practice Aug. 7.) We need to train."
[Volleyblog Seattle photo by Leslie Hamann]
Following the report’s publication, McLaughlin says the excused absence Ross was seeking was more precisely a five-day span, Aug. 30-Sept. 4, to play in the FIVB Beach Junior World Championships in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She won that event with partner Tara Roenicke in 2010 in Alanya, Turkey.
The Huskies opened their 2011 season Aug. 26-27 with three matches at the Long Beach State Mizuno Invitational, then played three matches Sept. 2-3 in Spokane, Wash., at the Northwest Challenge, hosted by Gonzaga. The Gonzaga matches conflicted with the world championship dates.
McLaughlin says he understands attempting to play indoor and outdoor is a challenge for any volleyball athlete. Ross, he believes, gave it her best shot. “Summer enrolled early at Washington and trained with us in the spring (2011) quarter,” he says. “She put in a lot of work, and she’s very talented.
“But when the indoor season is on, we need every player to be totally committed to it. She’s a great kid, and we’ll miss her contributions, but she’ll be able to focus full-time on the beach game now, and that’s a good deal for her.”
Terry Wood is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to The Seattle Times.
Volleyblog Seattle has made initial efforts to contact Summer Ross and her family for comment.