Sept. 23, 2014
By Victor Diaz ’15
For many University of Notre Dame student-athletes, each has their own unique story outlining the journey to campus and the decision to play for the Fighting Irish.
Many, perhaps, grew up Notre Dame fans with dreams of wearing the gold and blue uniforms. Others may have fallen in love with the atmosphere the minute they stepped on campus during their first official visits. And then there were some who probably had a strong desire to attend a school that could provide the perfect blend of academics and athletics that few schools like Notre Dame can offer.
Every path is different, but not every road is smooth. Some individuals have to get past a few “bumps” in order to arrive at their final destination. Such is the story of senior volleyball player Erin Klosterman.
The Leonard, Mich., native’s journey to South Bend begins with her older sister, Emma, who first inspired Erin to play volleyball when she was in the fifth grade.
“My oldest sister, Emma, is four years older than me. She started playing CYO (Christian Youth Organization) volleyball and my other sister began playing, Erin says. “As soon as they started playing, I picked up a volleyball and quickly fell in love with the game.”
Emma (Klosterman) not only guided Erin to the volleyball court, but she also would eventually direct her younger sister to something even greater.
“My oldest sister went to Notre Dame,” Klosterman says. “She did not play a sport while she was a student, but I do remember our first visit to campus. Our entire family came and I ended up falling in love with the campus then and there.”
Klosterman’s story appears to unfold just like many others — an older family member attends Notre Dame and others are then drawn to the beauty of the campus and its tranquil surroundings.
“When Emma enrolled at Notre Dame, I had the opportunity to come to football games with my entire family,” Klosterman says. “We all became fans immediately. My love for the University started at a pretty young age. I set the goal for myself back in the eighth grade that I wanted to attend and play volleyball at Notre Dame.”
Klosterman’s skills as a volleyball player had many schools paying close attention to her performance on the court.
“I started the recruiting process early in high school and was talking to a couple of schools, including Notre Dame,” Klosterman says. “Notre Dame was definitely my number-one choice, and I committed to play here as a non-scholarship recruit.”
But not everything went as planned for Klosterman. Instead of spending her freshman year at Notre Dame, Klosterman enrolled at nearby Saint Mary’s College that first year.
“There were a couple bumps for me my senior year of high school, and things didn’t quite work out as I had planned, so I made a last minute decision to attend Saint Mary’s.” Klosterman says.
And although her plans got somewhat sidetracked, Klosterman never gave up on her dream of attending Notre Dame.
“I was still in contact with [Head coach] Deb [Brown] throughout my freshman year,” Klosterman says. “Coach Brown always was encouraging and said that I still had a spot on the team for the following year. That was my goal and I worked hard at Saint Mary’s.”
With no guarantees that she would be part of Notre Dame’s class of 2015, Klosterman knew she would have to work hard in the classroom. She concentrated on her academics and made sure that became her focus throughout her freshman year.
With a clear goal in mind, it wasn’t hard for Klosterman to keep motivated and stay sharp in the classroom during the year she spent at Saint Mary’s.
“Having that goal and having something to strive for definitely kept me on point throughout the entire year,” Klosterman says. “Just knowing that I wanted to transfer and knowing that I needed to do well academically, helped me to focus more. For me, every class and exam mattered.
“That was a driving force for me that first year and kept me motivated the entire time to always do my best and to always give 100 percent every day.”
Academics weren’t the only concern for Klosterman that year. If she wanted to return to the volleyball court, she had to make sure that she stayed physically and mentally sharp after taking a year off from competitive volleyball. And she would have to do it without the guiding hand of a coach.
“It was difficult. I can definitely say that,” Klosterman says. “Not having coaches and teammates to help push you, and not having a scheduled practice or a match every day was challenging.
“But I knew that my academics had to be my focus. I had that goal in mind and that drive that I was going to play volleyball here. I knew that I was going to have to be on the top of my game if I ever came back and was serious about playing on this team.”
At the end of a successful freshman year at Saint Mary’s, Klosterman received her acceptance into Notre Dame.
Since joining the program in 2012, Klosterman has seen increased playing time during her career. In three years with the Irish, Klosterman has played in 49 matches, totaling 92 digs, 11 service aces, seven assists and one block. The one block for the 5-5 defensive specialist came in a wild 39-37 first set against Virginia Nov. 22, 2013. After running out of subs, Klosterman was forced to play all three front row spots, eventually going up with 6-3 Andie Olsen to tally her only career block.
Now with just a couple of months of collegiate volleyball left, she is living out her dream of playing volleyball for a program and school she loves.
“I feel fortunate to have had the best of both worlds at Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame,” Klosterman says. “I fell in love with Saint Mary’s and always will remember fondly the great friendships and wonderful relationships I had with my with professors. It was an important year in my life. It helped me to reach my goal of playing volleyball and attending Notre Dame.”
KLOSTERMAN GOES TO SPAIN
This past summer, Klosterman traveled with her major (Psychology with supplementary majors in pre-health and Spanish) to Spain for a study abroad experience of a lifetime. Below is a picture video that she put together highlighting her summer in EspaÃƒÆ’Â±a.