Stephanie McGrane, a sophomore hitter for the Central Lakes College Raiders volleyball team, comes from a family that has enjoyed a legacy of athletic success at CLC.
Her sister, Shelly, starred in volleyball at CLC in 1994. Her brother, Darwin, played football at CLC. Her aunt played both volleyball and basketball at the school.
So, when it came time for the latest McGrane athlete to decide on a college, the choice to attend CLC should have been a no-brainer.
Instead, it was not CLC but Fergus Falls that attracted the highly touted talents of the Verndale native.
"My two best friends went to Fergus Falls," McGrane said of her decision to break with her family's tradition. "The three of us had been friends since junior high school and we wanted to stick together."
Now, two years later, her friends are attending Moorhead State and Stephanie is enrolled at CLC. McGrane transferred into the CLC program a year ago but had to wait a year before finally stepping onto the court as a Raider and re-establishing her family tradition.
While at Fergus Falls, McGrane tore all the ligaments in her shoulder. That serious injury required surgery and only now, after a grueling rehabilitation schedule and against her doctor's advice, is she ready to resume her volleyball career.
"I moved back here when I blew out my shoulder," said McGrane, "because my sister lives here and I knew that I would have a lot of family support. I wasn't supposed to do anything with my shoulder for a year but I started my rehab about five months after surgery.
"The doctor told me only 30 percent of my arm strength would ever come back and they advised me never to play again. My shoulder is doing a lot better than I thought it would be at this point. At the beginning of the year, I didn't think I was going to make it through the whole season."
Her shoulder still hurts, but winning has a way of dulling even the sharpest pain. "I'm in pain all the time," said McGrane, "but when I get out on the court, and the momentum is going, I don't even remember or think about the pain."
McGrane had a chance to see her ex-teammates when the Raiders hosted Fergus Falls last Wednesday. McGrane had been a standout performer for Fergus Falls, earning All-Northern Division, all-state and All-Region 13 honors. It was obvious that Fergus Falls missed her talents as the Raiders took the match in a three-game sweep. Facing her former school was not an altogether comfortable encounter for McGrane.
"Three of the players that I played with are still on the (Fergus Falls) team," said McGrane, "and the coaches are the same. It was nice to see them all. I do get a little bit nervous going against a team that I used to play with. I don't want to be too wild and talkative when I'm out there against them but I need to do that to play better."
McGrane turned in a solid game against her former squad. Her postgame stat sheet credited her with eight kills and four digs.
The Raiders' solid opening performance at home is, to an always upbeat McGrane, a sign that positive things await the Raiders as they progress into their season.
"I think we'll have a good team because we have a lot of potential out there on the court," said McGrane. "We can make lots of substitutions and still have just as much potential out there. Things are looking good."
Things are indeed looking good for the Raiders, who, with the fine play of McGrane and others, are showing all the early season signs of emerging as one of the best teams in the region.
Raiders stop Hibbing
The Central Lakes College Raiders defeated the Hibbing Cardinals in three games 15-5, 15-4, 15-1 in a Minnesota Community College Conference match Friday.
Jessi Fischer was 19-19 serving with four ace serves and two digs for the Raiders and teammate Katie Bell was 10-11 serving with 27 set assists, three ace serves and three kills for CLC which improved to 5-2 overall.
Jessi Fischer 19-19 serving, 4 ace serves, 2 digs
Katie Bell 10-11 serving, 27 set assists, 3 ace serves, 3 kills
Katie Foss 7-8 serving, 2 ace serves, 6 digs
Marie Kern 3 kills, 1 dig, 1 block
Becky Poster 5-6 serving, 1 ace serve, 9 kills, 1 dig, 1 block
Becca Nagel 7-7 serving, 3 ace serves, 3 digs
Amanda Meyer 2 digs
Dana Dickinson 12-13 serving, 4 ace serves, 7 kills, 6 digs, 1 block
Steph McGrane 8 kills, 5 digs, 1 block
Anna Struss 1 kill
Conference --CLC 2-0. Overall --CLC 5-2.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.