Carlson makes transition from hockey to volleyball at RMU

October 27, 2016

Leah Carlson volleyball

Leah Carlson

After wrapping up her college hockey career at Robert Morris University, Leah Carlson of Copper Center wasn’t ready to hang it up.

Instead she did something she hadn’t done since high school.

She joined the volleyball team.

Carlson is a defensive specialist for the NCAA D1 Colonials of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and one of the few Alaskans to play two sports in college.

“The volleyball team has been awesome. I’ve loved getting to know a new family. They have been so welcoming,” Carlson told RMU Sentry Media. “I’m a fifth year, so I’m a little bit older and they have just treated me like the mom of the team. I think I was that way with the hockey girls.

“Now I have two families, hockey and volleyball, so it’s been really fun.”

Carlson, of Kenny Lake High fame, hasn’t played competitive volleyball since high school so there has been a transition going from ice to the court.

“Probably the most challenging thing was just learning again how to pass because that’s what I’m doing,” she said. “Hockey is all legs. So, like, working out is different too. A lot more squatting and stuff like that. I think too with your hands you have to have that. Like volleyball is all arms, you have to be able to jump too. It’s just completely different sports.”

The 5-foot-8 senior played defense on the hockey team and blocked 47 shots in her final season.

Now she has to deal with screaming spikes coming her way as a player on the back row.

“It’s still just as intense. You still have to prepare the same way. You still mentally have to be prepared every game,” Carlson said.

“I think once you play at a Division I level, the sport isn’t the same, but everything else is the same. Like everything is intense. You have to be on-time, you have rules, all this stuff. I think coming in I knew how much time it was going to be coming from hockey. It didn’t necessarily prepare me for the volleyball part, but it prepared me just for what I was getting myself into.”