Chelsea Taylor Corp brought a rare combination to the Grizzly volleyball program in its first two years – a bright and bubbly personality that, when taken onto the court, transposed itself into the drive and determination that helped the newly established program find early success.
“Chelsea was a neat kid, fun to coach,” Head Volleyball Coach Trish Kissiar-Knight said of her 5-10 middle attacker from Sarcoxie, Mo. “She had a combination of personality that made her fun to coach. She was bubbly, but she was very competitive, too. She had a lot of determination and didn’t like losing.”
Corp joined the Grizzly squad in fall 1993 following a successful high school career as an outside attacker at Sarcoxie High School where, during her senior year, she was named first-team All-Mid Lakes Conference, first team All-State in class 2A, and was included to the Joplin Globe’s All-Area team. Upon her arrival at Missouri State University-West Plains, Knight took note of Corp’s raw talent, size and quickness and transformed her into the team’s first middle attacker.
By the middle of her freshman year, Corp, who had a deceptive hitting style, had mastered the position and became the team’s “go-to girl.” Whenever the team needed a kill or a side out, the Grizzlies always set up Corp for the attack. As a result, Corp compiled a host of statistics in blocking, kills and attacking percentage categories that still stand among the all-time career leaders. She is second in attacking percentage (.353), third in kills (744), fifth in blocks (200.5) and sixth in attacking attempts (1,492). Her records in kills (438), attacking attempts (968) and attacking percentage (.400) during the 1994 season remain among the top 10 in these categories for single season leaders. “What’s really amazing about these records is that we didn’t play as many matches in those early years, and she is still among our career and single season leaders,” Knight said. Corp’s efforts led the Grizzlies to two consecutive second place finishes in the Region 16 Championship tournament, and her play during the 1994 season earned her first-team All-Region 16 and honorable mention All-American honors.
After graduating from Missouri State University-West Plains with an Associate of Arts in General Studies degree in 1995, Corp transferred to the University of West Alabama (UWA) in Livingston where she played for two years and helped turn the Lady Tigers from a 17-18 team in 1995 to a 32-14 team in 1996. Corps received a bachelor of science degree in sociology from UWA in 1997 and returned to the Springfield, MO, area to serve as an assistant coach at Catholic High School. During her last year with the Lady Irish, she helped coach the team to a Class 2A district championship.
Corp, who married her husband Brad in 1997, is currently a stay-at-home mom who is very dedicated to raising a five-year-old daughter, Hannah, and a three-year-old son, Jack. “I also am very involved with our church, serving in the Women in God’s Service group as the missions chair and on the steering team for our Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) program,” she added.
But Corp has very fond memories of her time at Missouri State University-West Plains. “Whenever I think back on it, it was a lot of fun. The community was great, and I learned a lot from Coach Knight. She was a great coach,” she said. “I feel that being a part of the first volleyball team at Missouri State University-West Plains was a great honor. I have always been proud to have been a part of this organization.”