If you ask any die-hard fan of the Missouri State University-West Plains Lady Grizzly Volleyball program who was the best setter in the team’s 14-year history, chances are you would hear the name Bea Gerevich.
The 5-9 setter/outside hitter from Budapest, Hungary, brought a smooth, effortless European style to the Lady Grizzly court that helped propel the team to be one of the top programs in the nation.
“When you think of great setters we’ve had in the program, you have to think of Bea,” Lady Grizzly Head Coach Trish Kissiar-Knight said. “She was part of that group of players who helped us get into the top eight teams in the country in the national tournament.”
The team’s first international player, Gerevich became an integral part of the Lady Grizzlies’ success in 2000 and 2001. “We had some great all-around players and attackers back then, such as Sara Kincaid, and we needed a great setter to go with them. Bea was that missing piece, and she made us really successful,” Knight said.
“She was so poised, so smooth, so strong, she made it look effortless,” Knight continued. “They play on such a higher level in Europe. She played on club teams with older people, which gave her so much poise. She was used to being under pressure, so she could handle high pressure situations with us.”
Gerevich, whose mother was a member of the Hungarian volleyball team that placed fourth at the 1976 Olympics, came by her talent naturally. But it was on her club team, Vasas Sport Club, that Gerevich developed the skills she needed to help the Lady Grizzlies climb the national ladder of success. While with Vasas, Gerevich helped the team place second and fourth, respectively, in the 1998 and 1999 Hungarian National Cup and earned the championships’ Best Setter Award in 1998.
It didn’t take long for Gerevich to make a name for herself at Missouri State University-West Plains. In her first season with the Lady Grizzlies, she recorded 630 assists and led the team in service aces with 63 and aces per game with .47. She also helped the team earn its second consecutive Region 16 Championship trophy, as well as its second consecutive trip to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I Women’s National Championship Tournament.
Gerevich’s sophomore season in 2001 proved to be her breakout year, however. She used her mental toughness, leadership skills and profound knowledge of the game to pull the Lady Grizzlies through some tight matches. Her on-court decision to have a teammate set her for a crucial hit against Seward County (Kan.) Community College in the First National Bank Grizzly Invitational Tournament helped the Lady Grizzlies win that event, and her use of several opportune tips over the net in the team’s second-round match against the College of Southern Idaho at the national tournament in West Plains led to the Lady Grizzlies’ defeat of the defending national champions.
The latter is one of Gerevich’s favorite memories at Missouri State-West Plains. “Before the match, most people thought we would lose,” she recalled. “But we didn’t give up. We played our best, and we fought for every point as a team, and we won! We beat them in front of a huge, great crowd. The stands were full, and everyone was cheering for us. That was the best feeling ever! It even makes me happier that my mom and step-dad got to be there and see this victory!”
The Lady Grizzlies went on to place fourth in the 2001 national tournament, their highest finish at that time, and Gerevich received all-tournament honors for the second year in a row. She also earned second team All-American honors from the NJCAA and the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) her sophomore season.
For the 2001 season, Gerevich led the team in service aces (79), aces per game (.50), assists (1,726) and assists per game (11), all of which were new team records at that time. Her 79 service aces still remain the most by a Lady Grizzly during a season, and her 1,726 assists are the fourth best among Lady Grizzly setters for a season. Among career records, she stands at the top of the list in service aces (142), second in attacking percentage among outside/right side attackers (.328), and third in assists (2,356).
After graduating from Missouri State-West Plains in May 2002 with an Associate of Arts in General Studies degree, Gerevich transferred to the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Although the Seahawks struggled during her two seasons there, Gerevich excelled, recording the first triple-double in school history on Sept. 5, 2003, with 13 kills, 33 assists and 21 digs against Elon University. She went on to record a total of eight triple doubles during her career at UNC-Wilmington.
Gerevich’s name is written on the Seahawks’ record books, as well. She is fourth on the team’s service aces per game list (.46), sixth in career assists (1,465) and career digs per game (2.90), seventh in career assists per game (7.63), and tenth in career hitting percentage (.182). She also earned second team All-Colonial Athletic Association in 2003 and was named to the Elon University Classic all-tournament team that same year.
Gerevich graduated from UNC-Wilmington in June 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree, with an emphasis in International Business. She currently works as a site clerk/administrator at a construction company in Dublin, Ireland.
Although she’s no longer living in the United States, Gerevich treasures the time she spent here, especially in West Plains. “I loved living and playing in West Plains. I felt special because most of the people recognized us in West Plains, and they always had a few good words for us. Sometimes, it felt like we were a big family, and it felt good making the whole town proud of us by winning our matches,” she said. “I will never forget the years I spent in West Plains. They were the best years of my life!”