Manchester University’s Anna Marie Lawrie has personified perseverance as she has battled back from an ankle injury in high school. Photo Provided
Manchester University’s Anna Marie Lawrie has personified perseverance as she has battled back from an ankle injury in high school. Photo Provided
It was late fall in 2015.

Anna Marie Lawrie was coming off what could be best called an agonizing senior season. Trying to rebound from a broken ankle in five different places that occurred during her junior season on the Indianapolis Roncalli High School volleyball squad, she battled through each practice and each match to stay involved in the game she loved.

“I was in pain pretty much every time I was out on the floor,” she reminisced. “It was difficult. I didn’t know when my high school career ended if I would play again.”

Enter Manchester University, past and present.

Anna Marie’s dad, Judd, a former Spartans’ football player and wrestler, and head coach Bryndon Paulsen gently kept the thought of college and a volleyball opportunity in her mind.

“(Dad) just kept telling me he thought I would miss it if I didn’t take the chance,” she said. “Coach Paulsen was persistent … really wanting me to join the program. I knew how much my mom (former cross-country and track and field athlete Wendy Chumbley Lawrie) and dad liked it in North Manchester, so I gave it a shot.

“It was the best decision I’ve made. I really love the people, the campus … everything about Manchester University. It’s been great being able to keep my passion for volleyball going, too.”

Fast forward a little over a year and one sees Lawrie resuming a family athletic legacy that does not stop with mom and dad. Her elder sister, Emma, is a junior on the rowing team at Indiana University; a younger sister, Grace, plays volleyball at Roncalli HS; and two younger brothers have taken their place in line, playing football under dad’s watchful eye in a local youth league.

Anna Marie, who has been playing since she was in third grade, does not stop her court zest when she goes back home, either. While being nanny for a pair of young children in her family’s neighborhood, she also joins some teammates from a club she played on while in high school.

“Their courts are open, and several of the girls I played with live right around me, so it works out really well,” she said. “It’s good opportunity to just get in and play while also working out whenever I can. I like to get on the court once a week if possible.

“(The constant court and workout times) have been somewhat necessary, too. When I was rehabbing, there wasn’t too much of a break so I’ve just kept that thought process going … keeping myself ready to go. I have also used it to help with the transition from high school to college volleyball, as things move faster. It’s been worth it, though, with the way things have gone.”

Lawrie’s results from the routine she keeps are sparkling. Her 404 digs last season were the most for a Spartan player since Tiffany Moore dug up over 500 opposing attack attempts in 2008. She also proved tough on the back line offensively with 21 service aces and was not afraid to get in the mix with the front players, turning in 48 assists from her libero spot over 28 matches and in over 100 sets played.

“(As a libero) you need to know where you and everyone else is at on the court as well as what defense we’re running,” she said. “It’s an awesome spot – you get to be in for the adrenaline plays. My favorite part is when the front row players turn around and celebrate with us little people in the back on points.”

Smiling is something she does often while on the court that has been part of her life for the last decade-plus.

She’s a true success story in perseverance, and she’s continuing a family tradition.