Work Samples

Local athlete, volleyball team tour New York City during break between matches

October 17, 2008

By David Driver
For the Stafford County Sun
Used with permission

Jessica Gould is playing small-time athletics at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa. But she and her volleyball teammates got a big-time experience Oct. 9-11 during their stay in New York City.

The sophomore setter at Messiah a graduate of Mountain View High School and the rest of her Falcon teammates, visited a variety of sites on a driving tour of New York, including the Statue of Liberty.

It is a pretty cool experience, said Gould, while riding on the bus through the city Oct. 10. I had never been to New York City before.

The group also visited Ground Zero, the former site of the World Trade Center.

Goulds team was in the metro area to play Rutgers University-Newark, Baruch College and New Jersey City University.

The Falcons had won 10 of their first 15 matches this season and Gould had 130 assists, which was second on the team to Lauren Bourdons 312.

Messiah is a Christian liberal arts school near Harrisburg, Pa. The school has a competitive athletic program. The mens soccer team has won five Division III national titles under head coach Dave Brandt and was ranked No. 2 in the country in early October.

The womens soccer team won the national title in 2005 and is nationally ranked this season. Messiah volleyball coach Judi Tobias entered this year with a record of 189-167 in 15 seasons at the school, including a record of 21-11 a year ago when Gould was a freshman.

Gould visited Messiah during spring break of her junior year in high school, but she did not commit to the school at that time.

I considered going to Wilkes University since my family is from there and I wanted them to see me play, Gould said of the school in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Her father played football at Wilkes and they still have family in that area of northeast Pennsylvania. Gould also looked into colleges that played in the same conference as Wilkes, so relatives could see her play.

But she visited Messiah for a second time while at Mountain View.

I knew I didnt want to be in a big city, she said. Messiah kept popping up (as an alternative) during my senior year.

On her second trip to the school she realized this is where I am supposed to be.

Gould, a life-long Stafford County resident, played volleyball as a freshman and sophomore at Colonial Forge High School. She then transferred to Mountain View and played for two years and was part of its first graduating class in 2007.

Gould also played basketball as a freshman. Her younger sister,20Megan, plays field hockey at Mountain View.

Gould is studying health and physical education at Messiah and is involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

The schools volleyball program has gained academic recognition for its overall grade-point average around 3.5 in recent years. Gould also has a part-time job with the Messiah athletic department and assists with monitoring facilities.

I think playing a fall sport forces you to manage your time, she said. There is so much free time. Sports makes you be sure you are on top of your work.

Notes: Messiah plays Oct. 16 at Penn State-Harrisburg and Oct. 22 at Lebanon Valley College Bianca Richardson, a former teammate of Goulds at Colonial Forge, is a freshman on the team at American University.