Rachael Martin is a senior nursing major who plays for FSC volleyball team as a middle blocker plans to go back to California once May rolls around.
Martin has been playing the sport since she was in seventh grade but didn’t join a club team until a year later.
“I was really tall for my age, (I was 5’8 at the age of 11) and some of my friends were playing, so it seemed like a fun thing to do to occupy my time,” Martin said.
The nursing program that FSC offers and its atmosphere is what drew Martin to Lakeland as well as the proximity to the Disney parks. The combinations of all of these things as well as the fact FSC has a volleyball team helped make her dream of playing in college come true.
“I couldn’t imagine my life without the sport and I wanted to continue doing what I loved in any way I could,” Martin said.
Within her first year on the volleyball team, she played in 30 matches and appeared in 100 sets. As well as led all of the Florida Southern’s freshmen in kills (158), and blocks (85). It wasn’t until the nine matches of the season, when she took on the role of a starting middle blocker. At the end of her freshman year she was on the SSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll.
“I am not sure if my teammates looked up to me, but I hope I acted as a positive role model nonetheless,” Martin said.
During her sophomore season, she played in 31 matches and appeared in 112 sets and was ranked second in the conference and 21st nationally in hitting percentage (.374). Martin was also an AVCA All-American Honorable Mention, AVCA All-South 1st Team, D2CCA All-South Region 2nd Team, All-SSC 2nd Team, SSC Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 01, 2018, D2 ADA Academic Achievement Award, and was on the SSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll for a second year.
“I felt very confident in myself and my ability to go out on the court and do my job and I felt very confident in my team to go out and do theirs. I am very lucky and honored to have been there for that and I am very proud of myself for accomplishing all that I did,” Martin said.
In her junior season, she played in 100 or more sets for the third straight year. She was on the CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team, CoSIDA Third Team Academic All-America, SSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll for a third year and was the Team Academic Award Winner.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Martin was unable to play her senior season.
“The NCAA was very gracious and understanding of the position the pandemic put all of the athletes, but especially the seniors in and gave us an extra year of eligibility,” Martin said.
Even though Martin has the opportunity to play another year, she plans to move back to California after she graduates to work in a hospital while she goes back to school to earn her MSN and later DNP with a concentration in family nurse practice.