Mount Union senior volleyball player Julie Radigan (Olmsted Falls/Olmsted Falls) has a habit of making a lasting impact wherever she goes.
She has been part of history as the Purple Raiders made a first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2009 then repeated the feat along with a first-ever Ohio Athletic Conference title in 2011 while off the court she has a 3.925 grade point average as an intervention specialist major.
The OAC has recognized Julie for her hard work and dedication on the court and in the classroom by naming her the conference's Scholar-Athlete-of-the-Month for December.
This recognition adds to a long list of honors Radigan has received during her four years as a standout for head coach Leigh Ann Swartz and the Purple Raider program.
"Julie is extremely determined," commented Swartz. "She faces adversity head-on and fights with a relentless desire to succeed."
Among her honors, Radigan has been named AVCA All-America honorable mention, All-OAC First Team twice and Academic All-OAC three times. She ranks second in career assists at Mount Union.
Those individual accomplishments, however, are not what will define the place Radigan, the player, has in Mount Union history. Instead, she will be remembered as helping program on the rise gain national prominence.
"She is a selfless player who always put the team's mission ahead of her own personal agenda," stated Swartz.
In 2009, Radigan helped the Raiders earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and a first round win over Lebanon Valley (Pa.). Hampered by a recurring back injury, Radigan was sidelined for the opening round win but was determined to do everything she could to help the Raiders make a return to the NCAA Tournament.
Fast forward to 2011 where Radigan, as the only senior and one of three team captains, declared winning the conference as a team goal in the spring. Despite being picked to finish fourth in the preseason, the Raiders claimed the OAC Tournament title after a thrilling five-set win at nationally-ranked Heidelberg in the finals – a match that Radigan had a season-best 58 assists -- and punched the team's ticket back to the NCAA Tournament.
"She made it her mission to help this program win a conference championship for the first time in school history, and throughout the spring and summer before this year, she was constantly reminding her teammates of that same goal," said Swartz. "Every open gym and every workout together was motivated by that one desire."
"Being a member of the first volleyball team to win the OAC at Mount Union is something I will never forget and a moment I would not have wanted to have with any other group of girls, coaches, and fans," Radigan said of the team's accomplishment.
"The team worked so hard this season on accomplishing this goal, and not falling short was literally a dream come true. I could not have asked for a better ending to my career here at Mount, and I look forward to seeing the success this program will have in the future."
As much as she has meant to he volleyball program at Mount Union, the classroom is where Radigan will leave her biggest imprint.
Radigan will complete her student teaching in the spring and hopes to obtain a teaching job near her hometown of Olmsted Falls. She plans to pursue a master's degree in speech pathology in the coming years.
"Teaching is such a rewarding career," Radigan said. "I love seeing how happy the students get when they are successful. Helping students perform at a higher level than they ever thought they could is what truly drives me to become the best teacher I can."
Based on her ability to lead on the court, it seems Radigan is ready to leave a lasting impression on young people in the classroom. Except from now on, each of her assists will count for much more than one point on the scoreboard.
By Jay Fiorello, Mount Union Assistant Sports Information Director