Hartnell Volleyball All-American Sam Shaffer has signed a letter of intent to attend and play for Notre Dame de Namur University in the fall.
Shaffer, who announced her decision on Monday, April 8, with Hartnell Volleyball Head Coach Jamie Pedroza, plans to study kinesiology while playing for the NDNU Argonauts in Belmont, Calif.
“They have a really great volleyball program,” said Shaffer, who visited Notre Dame de Namur this spring before making her decision. “It’s really close – an hour from where I live. I want to be not too far from home but just far enough.”
The 5-foot, 11-inch outside hitter played two seasons for Hartnell after graduating from Salinas High School. She led the Panthers to a 26-6 season in 2018, notching 371 kills and 36 service aces, with zero ball-handling errors. Shaffer’s performance also helped Hartnell rank as high as No. 6 in the California Community College Women's Volleyball Coaches Association weekly poll.
“It was pure joy having a real natural leader like she is,” Pedroza said. “I could not ask for anything more out of her.”
Shaffer’s strong commitment to conditioning and weight training significantly elevated her game, she said.
“That is one of the big reasons she changed what she did on the court,” Pedroza said.
The coach predicted Shaffer will be successful as she steps up to NCAA Division II, competing in the Pacwest Conference against private universities up and down California and in Hawaii.
“It’ll be nice for her to have that small, intimate classroom, but still playing at a really high level in one of the best DII conferences in the nation.”
Shaffer said that after high school, she didn’t feel physically prepared to play at the university level, but that is not the case now.
“The coaches here and the athletic staff here and my teammates really helped me be even better,” she said, “with working out and staying consistent. I think Hartnell was a great start for me.”
Being recruited for Division II and receiving All-American recognition has boosted Shaffer’s confidence even further as looks ahead to next year.
“I look forward to bonding with the team, getting to know the coaches more and becoming an even better volleyball player than I was when I started here,” she said.