Dec. 22, 2011
Amy Roberts is big into numbers. She was a mathematics major at Montana and accumulated some impressive totals while playing volleyball for the Grizzlies from 2007 through the end of her senior season last month.
In her four-plus seasons Roberts played in 110 matches and got 95 starts. She totaled 1,110 kills and 1,153 digs, numbers that rank in the top 10 in program history. She is one of seven Grizzlies to reach 1,000 in both categories.
With her in uniform (or on the bench with a knee injury for the final 18 matches of the 2009 season), Montana won 62 matches and advanced to three Big Sky Conference tournaments.
She began her final semester of school last August with a 3.53 GPA and next month will earn her third Academic All-Big Sky Conference award.
Tuesday night in Eureka, Mont., Lincoln County High School showed Roberts that even a small number can be one to be treasured. In a ceremony between the girls and boys basketball games against Columbia Falls, Roberts had her No. 6 from her playing days with the Lions retired, a first for the school in any sport.
Beyond what she did for Lincoln County High -- she was a standout on the volleyball court, as well as the basketball court and softball field -- the decision to retire her number also factored in what Roberts accomplished at Montana while representing her hometown.
"It was overwhelming. I was really honored to be out (on the court for the ceremony)," Roberts said two days later. "It was amazing to see the people who have been so supportive of me over the years."
After the school's athletic director, Ed Newell, spoke, Roberts was given the microphone and the opportunity to address the crowd that filled the bleachers.
With her parents, Jim and Linda, and older brother, Jay, lined up behind her, Roberts "tried to let everyone know how supportive the community has been to me and how that support helped me to be successful even after I left.
"I wanted to let everyone in the gym know how important they have been to me."
Roberts will spend the holidays in Eureka, then return to Missoula to coach club volleyball and continue training towards her goal of playing professionally overseas, a dream her friend and former teammate Jaimie Thibeault realized this week when she signed a contract to play in Italy.
Her secondary goal is to try coaching at the collegiate level. In the long run Roberts will likely end up teaching math and coaching volleyball at the high school level.
Maybe that will be in the state of Montana, and maybe at a school that one time plays a match at Lincoln County High. It's there her players will be able to look over on the wall and see a framed No. 6.
Their mathematics-teaching coach will be able to explain that the simplest of numbers can sometimes be the most memorable.
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