It’s rare to see a 5'9" middle blocker on a Division I volleyball team. Realistically, it’s rare even in Division III these days. Yet Faimie Kingsley of Denver University defies all expectations of a woman of her stature by ranking third in Division I with 1.67 blocks per set, as of Nov. 4.
The senior marketing major from Brooklyn, N.Y., said she can’t remember a time when she didn’t have a good vertical. “I started playing basketball and could jump really high to block balls and grab rebounds,” she said. “I didn’t really know that I had a great vertical when it came to volleyball until I started playing in high school and realized that I was getting a lot higher than the average person of 5'9" height.”
Not only is she getting higher than the average person of her height, with an approach she’s touched 10'6", which puts her three feet above the women’s net! “My brother is basically the same height [as me] and has as great of a vertical, if not better than I do, so it could be partial genetics,” Kingsley said. Whatever it is, her ability to hang with players upwards of six inches taller than her is phenomenal.
A three-sport athlete in high school (playing volleyball, basketball, and track and field), Kingsley probably could have continued on at college in any sport of her choosing, but she chose volleyball because of the team camaraderie that was so integral to the sport. “In basketball in high school I was the person who if I was playing well our team would most likely win. It was basically just me, and I got sick of that. I wanted more of the everyone-contributes-to-the-sport kind of feeling.”
Kingsley has embraced her role as an undersized middle. “I love it because there will be times when a hitter on the other side of the net will swing away thinking I’m not there and I’ll just pop up out of nowhere since I am so small compared to a 6'3" middle or 6'2" outside.”
Kingsley is also a nominee for the 2012 Senior CLASS Award and Denver’s 2011 MVP.
Originally published in January 2013