Being a student-athlete is hard. Only a small percentage of high school athletes continue their athletic careers in college. Competing in two collegiate sports year-round is even harder.
As a two-sport college athlete in volleyball and track-and-field (javelin), Shippensburg University senior Morgan DeFloria excels in everything she does on the court, runway and classroom. It was not smooth -sailing for DeFloria and her busy schedule, however. “I was constantly on the go,” she said.
“A typical day was 6 a.m. lift, classes, T25 (team workout videos), practice — if it was scheduled — for volleyball, and then I would head down to the runway to get some throws in.”
“School was very hard to focus on at night because it was generally pretty late when I’d get done with practice and I was exhausted,” DeFloria said.
DeFloria said her coaches played a big part in her success. They both worked with her to make a schedule so she would not be over-training — her shoulder needed to both throw and swing. “Coach [Leanne] Piscotty (volleyball coach) always tried to bring the team to my home meets too, which always made me really feel supported,” DeFloria said.
Both her coaches are glad they were able to have DeFloria on their respective teams. “Morgan is an exceptional two-sport athlete who transitions between the two sports seamlessly,” Piscotty said.
“To have the high level of success in both sports is very rare and she is the model student-athlete,” track-and-field coach David Osanitsch said.
As a 5-foot 11-inch outside hitter for the Raiders, DeFloria led the team in kills as a freshman with 395 and was fourth in blocks with 52. She played a big part in the 2015 team that won the PSAC (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) championship.
“She has played a huge leadership role for our team the past four years. Not only is she an incredible volleyball player who lead us in kills and points, but she leads us emotionally as well,” Piscotty said.
The leadership role, emotion and positive energy DeFloria brings to the court is crucial to any successful team, especially a championship-winning team.
DeFloria was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2015 conference tournament. She was also named to the 2015 Atlantic Region All-Tournament team for scoring double-digit kills in 22 matches.
During her freshman year throwing the javelin, she placed 10th at nationals with her 44.37-meter throw and placed second at the PSAC championships, breaking the school record in the javelin as a freshman.
In her 2016 volleyball season, DeFloria was All-PSAC Third Team; was second on the team with kills by putting up 310; had double-digit kills in 15 matches; and earned a single-match career high of 24 kills.
For track-and-field in the spring, DeFloria earned All-America First Team honors in javelin, throwing 157.6 meters with her third-place finish at nationals. She also claimed first place at the PSAC championships that year.
During her junior year on the volleyball team, DeFloria was named to the All-PSAC Second Team and the NCAA Atlantic Region All-Tournament Team.
DeFloria became the ninth player in school history to record 1,000 career kills and led the team in kills again with 386 kills and finished seventh in the conference. She was also second on the team in digs with 403.
In track-and-field that year, DeFloria earned All-America Second Team honors in the javelin with a 12th-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships after her first-place finish at the PSAC Championships. She was also named the 2017-2018 SU student-athlete of the year.
“Morgan is a unique athlete. Dedicated, positive and very driven,” Osanitsch said. “We have been very lucky to have Morgan be a part of our program and my hope is she can put the finishing touches on a Hall-of-Fame track career here at Shippensburg University.”
Her senior year, DeFloria was All-PSAC First Team and was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Atlantic Region team. She was seventh in the conference for kills per set, sixth for points per set and fourth in the conference for total kills.
DeFloria is currently in her final season of track-and-field for SU, starting off strong and not slowing down. After her first throw of the year, she was named the athlete of the week and achieved her DII national provisional mark.
DeFloria said she owes her success to her parents and teammates. “I couldn’t have asked for better parents and I would never have been nearly as successful without them,” she said.
“My teammates have always been very encouraging in the pursuit of personal goals and team’s goals.”
“She is a joy to be around on and off the court and is loved by her coaches and teammates,” Piscotty said.
After she graduates in May, DeFloria will travel to the Division II national tournament for outdoor track-and-field before taking a gap year, and continuing her education by attending graduate school for biology shortly after.