Every player on a team has a role. There are stars and there are backups, scorers and passers. On a successful team, players know their roles. Sometimes, though, roles change. Because of injuries or other unforeseen factors, players have to take on more or less responsibility. For some players this can be a difficult transition. Others stay focused and do what's best for the team.
Penn State: For the last three years, the Penn State women's volleyball team has dominated its sport. The Nittany Lions have won two straight NCAA Championships and are undefeated so far this year. They haven't lost in 100 matches heading into this weekend's Final Four. A big part of this success has been Kelsey Ream, Penn State's popular senior serving specialist.
Ream: Kelsey grew up in State College, PA, just down the road from Penn State. Her mother, father, brother and sister all went to Penn State. She grew up a fan of the Nittany Lions and has always dreamed of playing for them. Her dream came true in college, and she won national championships with her team in 2007 and 2008. Heading into this season she was looking forward to a successful senior year.
Injury: Last April, during a spring practice, Ream tore her ACL, a common yet painful injury for athletes. She needed surgery and wasn't able to play volleyball until November. As she watched from the bench, most of her senior season passed her by.
New Role: Although Ream was frustrated, she continued to work hard and support her teammates. Because of her injury, Ream could no longer be a star player for Penn State. But she came off the bench at certain key times in games, usually when the Lions needed a big serve. Ream wasn't playing as much as she used to, but she made the most of her new role and continued to help her team.
Now Penn State is within striking distance of a third-straight national championship. Nobody is taking more pride in the Nittany Lions' season than Kelsey Ream. She's not a star this season, but she hopes to be right there with her teammates when they raise another championship trophy.
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