Lindsey Major has already struck gold once in her search to continue her athletic and academic pursuits, but now the Hillsboro High School grad is hoping that the second time is just as charming.
After two years at Lewis and Clark Community College, Major, the daughter of Steve and Dawn Major of Hillsboro, signed to play volleyball for NAIA power Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis on Nov. 13.
"It kind of just fell into place. It was just a good fit for me. Lewis and Clark felt like home to me and I wanted to find another place that was a perfect fit. And I found that at Missouri Baptist," said Major, before adding with a laugh, "It doesn't hurt that their volleyball program is amazing."
The Spartans went 33-6 this year, bowing out of the NAIA National Tournament in round 16. Missouri Baptist, affectionately known as MoBap, was 11-1 in conference play, taking second in the American Midwest Conference to Park University, who won the NAIA National Championship over another AMC team, Columbia College.
"I'm so excited to see what next year holds. I know I will have to step up my game in order to play for such a good team," Major said. "We had a new coach this year (Bron Wilkerson at Lewis and Clark). He played at MoBap and he's the one who kind of led me there. He's made me look at volleyball in a different way, but in a really good way."
Her time at Lewis and Clark should prepare Major for the step up to MoBap. The Trailblazers are in the same conference as Parkland and Lincoln Land, who went 85-17 this year and both made the NJCAA National Tournament.
After going 18-18 last year, Lewis and Clark went 19-14 this year before falling to Lincoln Trail on Oct. 31, in the NJCAA Division II Region Semifinal.
Major was a significant part of that success, leading the team in digs with 465, the 75th most in NJCAA Division II. She also led the team with 50 service aces, 66th in the country, and was third in assists with 37. All of those numbers are big improvements over her freshman stats, when she had 298 digs, 14 aces and zero assists.
"It was fun to come in and play right away. There are always going to be some ups and downs, but overall it was an amazing experience," Major said. "It was a dream come true filling in at libero at the college level."
As much as she enjoyed the time on the court, the time off of it has been just as valuable for Major and will be one of the things she misses most.
"I absolutely love Lewis and Clark. If it was a four year school I would stay in a minute," she said. "I will forever recommend going juco. I have met so many wonderful people and have made so many friends. It's been the best decision I could have made. It's indescribable."
While Major knows it will be difficult to leave some of those friends, bigger things await in St. Louis.
"It will be hard to transfer, but I feel like I am blessed to be able to continue my volleyball career," Major said. "Volleyball has my heart and I don't think I'll ever stop playing it or being involved in it."
That love of volleyball resulted in a tough decision for Major, who decided not to play softball for the Trailblazers this spring. As a freshman, she played in 19 games, batting .250 with eight runs scored and four RBIs.
Academically, she will pursue a degree in sports management, with a goal of remaining involved in sports for the long-term.
"I would love to be a coach someday," said Major, who played three sports all four years at HHS. "Sports have been such a big part of my life I want to keep it that way."
She is hoping that her new location will bring her closer to two more of her loves, the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Blues. In addition to her coaching aspirations, Major has her sights set on the business end of professional and college athletics and said an internship with one of the St. Louis pro teams would be ideal.
As has been the case at Hillsboro, Lewis and Clark and now Missouri Baptist, odds are that Major would be right at home in the pros as well.