Marshalltown Community College volleyball coach Chris Brees said he wanted his team to play in front of a packed house.
Brees also said he would not overlook any talent in the area.
And with the signing of another athlete 20 minutes away from Marshalltown, he is living up to his word.
BCLUW senior Reeba Box (front row, right) officially became a member of the Marshalltown Community College volleyball team Monday when she signed her National Letter of Intent. Joining Box for the signing were BCLUW coach Kristen Garber (front row, left), parents Donnie and Tonia Box (back row, left and center) and Marshalltown CC coach Chris Brees (far right).
The Tiger head man got a verbal signature from BCLUW hitter Reeba Box on Monday evening, adding another player who will help put fans in the stands and add to the suddenly growing MCC depth.
"She plays because she loves the game and that is special to me," Brees said. "Her family also is so familar with volleyball. If I say a name, they know who I am talking about. That tells me that we will get people we both know into the building to watch games."
Brees said Box demands the ball in clutch situations and won't shy away from the big moments.
"What I saw out of her was someone who wanted the ball when the game was tied at 15 and her team needed a point," Brees said. "It is easy to want the ball when you are leading 10-1. It is harder when the game is on the line.
"She demands the ball in those situations and is not afraid of the result."
BCLUW coach Kristen Garber said she is happy for Box and is glad she won't have to go that far away to watch her play.
"It is fun watching them grow and be successful," said Garber, who also coached Brittany Ambler before she went off to Kirkwood Community College. "Volleyball is her first love and she puts a lot into it. She will fit in nicely at MCC."
Box was the best player on BCLUW's squad this past season, leading the team with 153 kills, 25 aces and 191 digs. She also was second in blocks with 36.
"I love volleyball and wanted to stay close to home," said Box, who also plays basketball and runs track at BCLUW. "My sister played here and she had fun. So I know I will like it."
Box said her older sister Leisha is the reason she fell in love with volleyball instead of pursuing a college scholarship in basketball or track and field. It was the competitiveness between the two that brought out Reeba Box's love for the game.
"She made me want to be as good as her or even better than her," Reeba said.
Reeba Box will have a few challenges at MCC when she arrives next fall.
She is currently injured after suffering a torn labrum in her shoulder. It is the second shoulder injury she sustained in high school.
The first injury came during the summer going into her junior year. She fell off a horse and dislocated her left shoulder. After a few months of rehab, Reeba was able to play all but one volleyball match and an entire basketball season.
This year, she made it through the entire volleyball season but suffered the torn labrum during a basketball game.
"My shoulder went out and then back in during a game this year," explained Box. "I played the rest of the game, the MRI was fine and I felt fine. Then, 30 seconds into my next game, the shoulder gave out without force or any contact. It just popped out."
Box has not played on the basketball court since and will miss the rest of the season and track season due to the injury. She has been told the recovery time is six months after surgery, which took place about two weeks ago.
"I have gone through this before, so it is up to me as far as how long I am out for," Box said. "It's not anyone's responsibilty but my own. I start therapy on Wednesday and I will be limited for six months. But I have no doubt that I will be back to 100 percent by the time the season starts."
Brees has no doubts either. That is why he stuck to his word and honored her scholarship. Some coaches have backed off signing athletes when injuries surface.
Not Brees. He has been after Box for a long time.
"I am not only looking for good players but I want good kids, too," Brees said. "I know in my heart to hearts that she will get back to 100 percent and be ready to go by the fall."
Box is happy her future coach is sticking with her during a tough time in her athletic career.
"I am very grateful he is taking a chance on me," Box said. "I want to prove myself. I've come back from it before. I will do it again."
As if getting over an injury is not enough, Brees said Box also will have to adapt to playing a new position at MCC.
Box was a middle hitter at BCLUW but will move to the outside in college. That is mainly because she would be an undersized middle hitter at the collegiate level.
"Her not being able to play for six months is a speed bump, but it won't slow her down. She is taking it head on and she will get through it."
Box doesn't anticipate worrying about the shoulder when she is cleared to play either.
"I won't think about it," she said. "It should be fixed and it is not my dominant arm anyway. If it were my right arm then I may be a bit more concerned."
While the shoulder heals, Brees said it is crucial for his future hitter to stay conditioned through a stationary bike or whatever else she can do without further injury.
"She will have a learning curve because of the position change and the injury, but only time will tell if the injury holds her back from playing time," Brees said. "One way to help her cause would be to come to campus in volleyball condition. That would make it easier to start the learning process."
Box is the second area volleyball play to sign with the Tigers in the past month. Marshalltown hitter Miranda Smith also inked her letter of intent earlier this month.