With graduation night a little more than two weeks away, Brownwood Lady Lion senior Naomi Rosato on Thursday finalized her decision on her collegiate volleyball plans.
Rosato signed a national letter of intent to continue her athletic career and education at Missouri Baptist University, located in St. Louis. Missouri Baptist, an NAIA program, is coming off a 27-7 campaign that included a 9-2 American Midwest Conference record and an appearance in the semifinals of the AMC conference tournament.
“I’m excited to be playing at the next level and at a Christian school, which was my goal,” Rosato said. “I made the decision through lots of prayer and lots of communication and talking about it as a family. For a while I really had no idea where I wanted to go. I had a lot of options, and I kept them open.”
Chris Nichols, head coach at Missouri Baptist, said, “We feel like Naomi fits here. She’s a setter with really good hands that comes from a good program, and we like the fact that she was looking for a Christian school. We’ve been a Top 25 program the last few years and plan on being there again, and look forward to Naomi helping.”
Rosato received honorable mention all-district as a setter her senior season for the Lady Lions, as Brownwood returned to the postseason after a one-year absence.
“I’m tickled pink that Naomi has this opportunity,” said Lady Lions head coach Lorrie Beelby. “Naomi was a very good teammate, always rock solid and very consistent. I only got to coach her one year, but I know how much her teammates loved her.
“It’s always fun to see players go on to the next level and I know she’ll do a great job. It’s a good school with a good program, and I’m excited to see her succeed.”
Rosato acknowledged the decision came late, but she carefully weighed her options which included Dallas Baptist University, Oklahoma Baptist University and Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida.
“Missouri Baptist wasn’t my top choice at the beginning, but God had a different plan for me,” Rosato said. “When I went there to visit I really liked the coach, he was a really strong Christian and I liked how he ran his practices. That was a big factor.”
In terms of her education, Rosato is leaning toward majoring in art education and possibly seeking a master’s degree later, but added those plans could change.
As for her fondest memories of playing at Brownwood, she pointed to her senior season.
“It was hard to get a new coach my senior year, but I enjoyed it a lot more than my junior year,” Rosato said. “Coach Beelby is a really good coach. I also got to play with all of my friends, so that made it a lot of fun. I’m going to miss that for sure.”
Rosato also expressed thanks to her parents, Mike and Kim Rosato, and her coaches for their unwavering support.