#NationalSigningDay2021: Grace Coccagna signs to play volleyball for Dickinson

Grace+Coccagna+signs+her+National+Letter+of+Intent+to+Dickinson+University.

courtesy of Grace Coccogna

Grace Coccagna signs her National Letter of Intent to Dickinson University.

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On February 3, 2021, Grace Coccagna signed her National Letter of Intent to play volleyball at Dickinson University.

Coccagna committed to Dickinson with hopes to make new connections with teammates, friends and coaches. She’s also excited to learn in a different environment. 

Grace Coccagna passing the ball in a game at the Linganore home court. (Michael Mccaffrey)

One reason Coccagna chose the college is because of the high level of play within the most competitive Division III conference, and knowing she can also pursue her major.

“I loved how welcoming the team and coaches were, and the campus and town are beautiful,” Coccagna said.

She has been a libero and defensive specialist for about eight years. The experience Coccagna has gained through club and school volleyball has given her the foundation she needs to excel at her sport.

“Some of my middle school friends told me to try going to a Metro Volleyball clinic in fourth grade. I was instantly hooked and loved volleyball ever since,” said Coccagna.

Grace Coccagna digs the ball against Walkersville. (Michael Mccaffrey)

Throughout her volleyball career, she’s been inspired and pushed to keep playing by some of her club coaches, including her 17U club coach, Brad Blumenauer. He looked forward to her potentially continuing to play in college. When he passed away in April, she became more inspired to honor his vision for her future commitment by following through with her college ambitions.

Claudia Lapcevich, one of her most influential coaches, coached her during her 14U and 16U years with Metro Volleyball Club teams. Without t

he valuable time Lapcevich spent working with her, Coccagna believes she might not be the player she is today.

“Some of my biggest challenges as an athlete would be the level of competition. My club team is very competitive and in order to be successful, it takes a lot of time and dedication toward improving yourself,” Coccagna said.

Her coaches have played an extensive role in her progress, skill set, motivation, and overall love of volleyball. She has played for Andrea Poffinberger, the varsity volleyball head coach at Linganore, and proven to be a major defensive contributor for the team over the last three years. 

Grace Coccagna serving in the Dig Pink Game. (Michael Mccaffrey)

It’s become obvious how uplifting and dedicated Coccagna is on and off of the court, as well as how much she looks forward to any academic or athletic challenge.

“Grace on the volleyball court resembles Grace in the classroom. She is a hard worker who is always open to feedback. I think she has the perfect balance of personal goal setting and team goals in mind,” Coach Poffinberger said.

The Dickinson Red Devils are focused on competitiveness, team and coach relationships, success with studying, and looking ahead toward the future beyond the game. The head volleyball coach, Jenn McMonagle, believes building strong relationships is an integral part of forming a strong team.

Grace’s family’s endless support of her accomplishments has benefited her over the years, and her college commitment leaves behind a wide variety of emotions back at home.

Grace Coccagna passing the ball in the Dig Pink Game. (Michael Mccaffrey)

Coccagna’s parents, Christina and Mike Coccagna, shared their pride of who she has become and where her hard work is taking her, along with the sad reality that she will be far from them each day.

“Her natural leadership and enthusiasm for the sport elevates the entire team whenever she’s on the court, and the chance of a win,” Mr. Coccagna said. “Whenever she’s on the court you know to get your popcorn ready. She’ll do her best to get to the ball no matter what may be between where she is and its projected landing… could be teammates, chairs, boom boxes and more.”

After college, Coccagna wants to pursue a career in Actuarial Science or Economics. Both her father and Poffinberger mentioned how her 4.6+ weighted GPA is a perfect representation of her work ethic on the court. With the academic assistance of her college resources, she does not expect to have much difficulty juggling volleyball with her work.