More than a player, Grossinger is a natural teammate

Men’s volleyball setter overcomes injury to lead Gaels

Grossinger extends for a dig at practice.
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For Zane Grossinger, it’s always been about the team.

As the setter, Grossinger has to put his team first. From day one, there wasn’t a doubt in his mind that team success was even more valuable than personal success.

With that kind of outlook, it shouldn’t have been such a surprise when the Gaels stunned the OUA by winning the provincial championship last season.

As the ‘quarterback’ of the offence, Grossinger has to put his teammates in the best possible position to score. He wants to give his teammates the opportunity to perform at their maximum potential. 

Coming off the OUA championship, as well as being named a First Time All-Star and leading the OUA with an eye-popping 718 assists, Grossinger is eager to see what this season has in store.

“Definitely the first goal is to win a medal at nationals, we accomplished our goal last year. It’s all about moving forward,” he told The Journal.

Following all his success, Grossinger credits much of it to his family. His dad was a setter at U of T, and then he was Zane’s club coach growing up. His brother was also a setter at Western University. With his volleyball background manifesting at a young age, Grossinger has gone through a great deal of footwork and technique training to be where he is.

“Playing university volleyball has been my biggest goal: I’m living my dream.”  

“I would go to my brother’s tournaments and my dad would hit balls at me from the sidelines, so I’ve always loved the game,” he said, laughing.

“[He has] a pretty special character,” Head Coach Gabriel DeGroot observed to The Journal.

Grossinger was raised on the court, growing up looking to his brother as a role model. In his childhood home, there was “just a lot of volleyball.” 

While Grossinger was continuing to reach for new highs, he was stricken by injury, bringing his upward trajectory to an unexpected halt.

While playing volleyball in the summer, in no single specific game, Grossinger tore the labrum in his left shoulder.

“Mid-summer I found out I had an MRI done, and it got the best of me for a little bit,” Grossinger said. After discovering the poor state of his shoulder, he admits there were times when his injury was the only thought occupying his mind.

He didn’t know what was coming next, or what it meant for his career.

He constantly questioned if he was going to play the same way he used to, and if he was going to be able to be there for his team. 

After weeks of rehabbing and soul-searching, though, there was no doubt Grossinger was itching to get back on the court, having spent the first month of the season cheering on his teammates from the sidelines. 

He played his first set of games against UBC Okanagan and Trinity Western University in the first week of October, splitting the weekend set.

“Top competition in the country and my first time playing. It was a big jump, but I was so happy to be back on the court,” he said.

When he let his injury control his life for a period of time, getting down on himself, it was the people important to him who gave him the confidence and support he needed to seek necessary help. His parents, siblings, and Coach DeGroot made the injury a short-term obstacle rather than a long-term change in his life.

“The scariest part was the unknown. There are always going to be unknowns, but doing whatever you can to stay in the moment is what helps you deal with an injury.”

Grossinger is now playing full-time once again, and is excited to see what the future holds. He’s ready to be a leader on the court and support his teammates while his family cheers him on from the bleachers.

“He was a quiet but confident leader,” DeGroot said of Grossinger. “He [has] the ability to raise the level of everyone around him.”

His passion for the sport and his technical strengths extend beyond his contributions on the floor—it makes volleyball a part of his identity and gives him a sense of belonging.

“He has grown in his confidence to lead the team. I’ve had a lot of respect for him from day one,” said DeGroot.

“[Volleyball] is more than just a sport, it’s a part of who we are.”

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