Riverview, Robert Morris grad Arden Fisher joins Swiss pro volleyball team
Arden Fisher's path to playing professional volleyball included potential landing spots in several countries, along with a possible side job delivering mail.
Now that she knows where she'll continue her career, the volleyball itself seems like the easy part.
Fisher, a former star at Riverview and Robert Morris, began her career earlier this month with Geneve Volley in Geneve, Switzerland, carrying on a family legacy — her mother, Charlotte, played professionally in Spain.
“I was definitely relieved, very excited,” Fisher said. “It didn't really hit me that it was real until when I started packing two days before I left. It's pretty surreal.”
Before landing the Switzerland contract in early September, Fisher and her agent were discussing opportunities with teams in Denmark, Germany and Spain. For one reason or another, those fell through.
“It was a long process, pretty brutal,” Fisher said. “I kept getting offers, kept getting my hopes up, and then they kept falling through due to injuries on the team or just random things. But apparently that's normal. A few times it was pretty rough, just taking the hit, getting my hopes up and getting crushed.
“But it worked out. In the end, it was OK.”
One German opportunity included a side job as a postal worker, so perhaps in retrospect Fisher is glad that particular option didn't come through.
“I wasn't too fond of that idea, mostly because nobody would be getting the right mail,” she said. “I would not be able to read German.”
In Switzerland Fisher can focus on delivering on the court as Geneve Volley, which competes in Ligue Nationale A, attempts to move up the league ranks.
The 5-foot-10 outside hitter became the first player in Robert Morris history to surpass 1,000 career digs and kills. She ranks second in career digs, fifth in career kills, helped the Colonials to a Northeast Conference title and NCAA berth in 2015 and was named All-NEC in all four seasons of her career.
“Her knowledge of the game and her sense of where to be on the floor positioning defensively, offensively, what to do with the ball is one of the highest I've ever seen,” Robert Morris coach Dale Starr said. “Defensively, she could have been a libero or defensive player at a big-time school. She could have been at a top-25 school playing, but she'd always wanted to play all the way around.
“I think she's going to be better defensively early in her career because that's a more natural thing for her ... but I think the offensive part of the game will catch up.”
After what Fisher called “the longest day of my life” — flying to Switzerland, moving into her new apartment that she shares with a pair of teammates who also hail from America and going through her first practice — she's settling into her new life, which includes more free time than college and an apartment that's a short tram ride from Lake Geneva.
Volleyball took Fisher to Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Croatia and Italy in the past, the latter three in the European Global Challenge with a team of American collegiate players in 2016. She wants to continue her travels as much as she can.
“I'm a big fan of traveling, seeing the world,” she said. “It's two birds with one stone.”
Fisher's three-month contract runs through mid-December, but she said she could stay on through the end of the season in the spring. For now, her volleyball career is open-ended.
“I'm pretty happy,” she said. “I'm happy with the girls. The level of play is OK for my first year. I'd like to move up eventually, but it's definitely a good starter here.”