A sophomore volleyball player at Richard Stockton College was killed Saturday in a one-car crash in southern Colorado.
Carly Sansone, 21, died along with two others after the car hit a road sign, went off the road and fell down an embankment.
She was remembered Wednesday by the school and companions as an energetic teammate and a great friend.
The vehicle Sansone and three others were riding in was headed south on Colorado Highway 145 near Ophir, about 6 miles south of Telluride. The crash happened about 1:30 a.m., The Associated Press reported.
The 2011 Chevy Cruze went off the right side of the road and rolled several times down a steep embankment. Alcohol was believed to be a factor in the crash, according to the AP.
All four in the vehicle were wearing seat belts, news reports stated.
On Monday, Stockton sent out a statement to the school community from Thomasa Gonzalez, vice president for student affairs.
“We are saddened by the unexpected loss of a student in our community, Carly Sansone, a sophomore sociology major of Galloway, N.J.,” Gonzalez wrote. “We express our heartfelt sympathy to Carly’s family and friends.”
The school is offering counseling to students and staff.
Sansone was on her way back from a 10-day camping trip, something she loved, former teammate Kirsten Corley said.
Corley, a 2014 Stockton graduate, said Sansone quickly developed a reputation as a fun-loving, free-spirited and supportive teammate despite having only just transferred to the school last fall.
“She was a bit of a hippie, you know … went barefoot a lot,” she said. “She loved camping and climbing.”
Corley once bought a plane ticket to Ireland for a trip, and when her parents found out, they told her she couldn’t go. Sansone had other ideas.
“Carly just said, ‘Get in the car, you’re going,’ and she drove me two hours to the airport,” Corley said. “I think she was my best friend on the team.”
Sansone and other undergraduate team members were supposed to have returned to campus to help with a volleyball camp for students in middle and high school scheduled to start Monday, but coach Allison Walker decided to cancel the first session after news broke.
The team has ordered “Carly” bracelets in her memory to wear and sell at games, Walker said, and will hold a memorial for her at the start of preseason later this summer, when the whole team will be present. Her uniform has been sent home to her parents.
Sansone did not play with the team last year due to NCAA eligibility rules following transfer, but she participated in a five-week training session in the spring. She was expected to be a key newcomer for the Ospreys this fall, according to a statement on the school’s athletic department website. And while she didn’t grace the court in an in-season competition, Walker said Sansone made an impact on the program nonetheless.
“Besides the volleyball that she played, the energy that she brought into this gym was unmatchable,” Walker said. “It’s something that will stay with us for a very, very long time here at Stockton.”
The native of Port Huron, Michigan, played at Iowa Lakes Community College in 2011, scooping 501 digs in 39 matches played.
The other passengers killed in the crash were 26-year-old Garrett LaForce and 23-year-old Edward Bollman. The sole survivor, Weston Gleiss, survived the crash and flagged down help.
Staff Writer Braden Campbell contributed to this report
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