Oregon State Volleyball junior libero Grace Massey has achieved great heights during her career on the court and in the classroom. From her freshman year on the team to her junior year season, Massey has made a name for herself among the greats.
Massey looks towards next year to complete her goal of beating the Oregon State record for digs as well as continuing to do well in the classroom. Being named PAC-12 defensive player of the week four times, and becoming close to beating long set school records, she has set an example for years to come.
As a freshman, Massey came out as an all-star. Appearing in all 33 matches, she was already considered a defensive asset on the team. Coming out strong at the start of the season, Massey led the Beavers with 433 digs. This is the second-most recorded by a freshman in OSU Volleyball history.
As a sophomore, Massey played in all 121 sets in the 2018 season as the designated libero, recording 560 digs. She recorded a milestone of the third-most digs of in-season play in OSU history and the most recorded by a sophomore. In her sophomore year, Massey was awarded the team’s MVP in a vote from her teammates. Massey also ended her sophomore year with a service trip called Beavers Without Borders to the Dominican Republic in June of 2019.
As a junior, Massey continued her streak as a team leader. Being chosen as team MVP for the second season in a row and starting in all 31 marches at libero, she was the only player to compete in every set of the season. Masseys junior year she proved herself as a force to be reckoned with, ranking third in OSU history with 1,517 digs.
“I want to beat the dig record which is 2,029, so I need to get 513 digs next season,” Massey said. “Hopefully, that’s possible, I want to reach that goal but with COVID, if preseason gets cut, I may have 10 fewer games. We are unsure what the circumstances may be, if we have a full season that’s my goal.”
The 2019 season held many valuable personal and team moments for Massey. One of her favorite moments was a Civil War matchup.
“I would say my best moment would be the last game of the season against Oregon because I reached that milestone of 1,500 digs and that was really cool because that was my goal for the season and I reached it in the last game which is fun,” Massey said. “I love playing Oregon because I step it up and ramp up my play because I’m hyped up.”
As a team, she felt that the first match against Oregon was an impactful game that led the Civil War expectations tremendously.
“I think our best team moment was the first time we played Oregon, we beat them at home in 5 [sets]. That was a crazy game,” Massey said.
The last few months have been a challenge for most. Since classes were abruptly moved to remote learning and many students were sent home, Massey looks towards her teammates to continue life as normal as possible.
“I’ve been living with my teammate and we had a good routine, waking up early, working out, homework done. It was nic,.” Massey said on her routine this spring term.
For athletes, having their teammates close by and their regular routine motivates them.
“I’m waiting for the rest of the team to get back and have team workouts because it's hard to do it on our own, and it is different not having the amenities that we had before,” Massey said. “The training table and the workout facilities, it’s definitely different, and its harder to stay in shape without that, and without practice everyday and workout times every day, it’s more difficult.”
Massey also hopes that the transition back to normal will come soon, but knows that it could be much slower with safety precautions due to COVID-19.
“We will have to sanitize balls in between plays and practice half the team at one time half the team at the other,” Massey said. “Different teams in the weight facilities at different times. It won’t look the same as before.”
Massey says it would be nice to be able to get back on the court and play this coming season. Motivated to beat the record set in place by Becky Defoe at 2,029 for the number of digs in the Oregon State’s volleyball program, Massey only needs 513 more to beat this record.
Though Massey’s COVID-19 experience is treating her decently well, she is looking forward to practicing in the next few weeks.
“We aren’t positive yet, everything is still up in the air, but June 22nd is when we can start practices,” Massey said. “Every summer we’re here [in Corvallis] for optional open gyms and training. We don't have to report until August 9th or 10th but we stay here in the summer and do the optional workouts and practices. So that can start on June 22nd but I think we have to get tested [for COVID-19].”
COVID-19 has been a setback for many at this time. Academically, Massey holds strong and continues to achieve her goals of academic honors along with her career goals on the court. Massey's academics have not wavered, receiving the team’s academic excellence award in the 2017 season and PAC-12 All-Academic first-team honors in 2018.
“Just hang in there, and wait and be patient,” Massey said. “If we rush into things it could get worse. Just be patient and [eventually] everything will turn out fine, and Go Beavs!”
Most recently, Massey won The Benny Award for team MVP. In the next few months, fans hope to safely be cheering her on to her goal of beating the dig record.