Created:Friday, October 26, 2012 7:59 p.m.CDT
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Richmond-Burton's Frantti commits to No. 1 Penn St.

Richmond-Burton's Ali Frantti celebrates a point Sept. 26 against Rockford Christian in Richmond. Frantti, a junior, has committed to play volleyball at top-ranked Penn State. (Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com)

Ali Frantti initially did not realize just how good she was on the volleyball court.

The Richmond-Burton junior started playing with Club Fusion in sixth grade not knowing she could someday end up at the highest level.

“I never thought I’d be able to play in college,” Frantti said. “I just loved volleyball and had a passion for it, and it happened.”

Frantti, a 6-foot-1 outside hitter who has been instrumental in R-B’s 33-4 season, committed to No. 1-ranked Penn State on Monday. After calling several other Big Ten Conference schools that had been recruiting her, she made it official Friday.

“I thought it would be the perfect fit for me,” said Frantti, a 6-foot-1 outside hitter. “The coaching staff is unbelievable. It was my dream as a little to go there. As a kid I watched them win four national championships.”

Penn State's four NCAA titles came in consecutive seasons. The Nittany Lions' run ended last season when they lost to eventual champion UCLA in an NCAA tournament regional semifinal, but they are back on top this year with a 21-1 record.

Frantti began to see that might be a possibility two years ago when colleges saw her playing with Club Fusion. She also looked at Illinois, Michigan, Northwestern and Purdue, but stuck with the team she loved to watch while growing up.

“I have to give the credit to all my coaches,” Frantti said. “I owe it all to them. I wouldn’t be where I am without them.”

R-B won the IHSA Class 2A Harvard Regional and plays in the Marian Central Sectional at 6 p.m. Tuesday against Kaneland.

“It’s unreal,” Frantti said. “We’re so excited about that. Everything’s good. Our chemistry on the team is unbelievable and we’re all coming together. We’re so pumped and we think we can do this.”