It’s kind of crazy how things come full circle — how life can put you in a place where everything just feels… right, you know?
When I made the decision to transfer to SMU, I’d been around long enough to know what I wanted.
There were a few things that were really important to me.
The first one was the coaching staff.
I wanted to be somewhere where I knew I could grow on and off the court, and having been recruited previously by Coach Sam Erger and Coach Trent Sorensen, I knew I’d have an opportunity to do that at SMU.
There was already that built-in relationship and connection that made the move feel natural.
Location was also very important to me.
My dad had undergone a heart transplant. So, the chance to be closer to home played a huge role, too.
And to top it all off, there was also his legacy.
He played college basketball at SMU, and I guess a part of me wanted to continue that legacy by following in his footsteps.
Like father, like daughter, right?
So, I’ve picked up the torch.
Let’s see where I can take it.
When I transferred here to SMU, I made a last-minute decision to switch numbers in honor of my dad’s old college jersey number.
It was something I really wanted to do.
I mean, these were his old stomping grounds. He attended school here, and he’s on some murals. Why would I not carry on the legacy by wearing the same number?
I wanted to surprise him with the number during our first home game, but unfortunately, he accidentally saw the number on my bag tag before I ever got the chance to show him personally. I was really looking forward to seeing his initial reaction, but well… bummer!
But I’m happy knowing he understood the significance of it.
He would have been proud of me no matter what number I wore on my back, but he knows why I did it.
So, the effect was still the same in the end.
In many ways, that new number represented a fresh start for me as well.
I redshirted my freshman year while healing up from an injury I suffered in high school, and COVID wiped out my sophomore season.
So, I was coming onto a new team and situation without having played in about three years.
Honestly, it was all a bit overwhelming.
I still remember that first scrimmage back.
We approached it like a normal game, and there were those same butterflies in the pit of my stomach before a competition — only mine were about three years’ worth of butterflies.
But after that first game, it all kind of settled in for me, and I was reminded that this is where I’m supposed to be.
I believe that first scrimmage was key in me getting my mind right and back into the swing of things.
Obviously, this time around, it has been a much different experience than it was for me in high school.
I’d been playing for eight years straight before going down with an injury.
You sort of get used to the same routine of going out there, playing well, being done, and then going about your business.
But things stick to you more at this level.
You can call it pressure or whatever you want, but the stakes are clearly higher. Combine that with me sitting out for such an extended period of time, and it’s clear how tough the road back has been.
It’s just a new mental battle that you kind of have to deal with.
It’s the same sport but a different challenge that I’m facing.
And trust me, that’s a good thing because there’s no other place I’d rather be.
It helps to have good teammates to lean on as I work my way through things.
We have a total of 14 girls with at least eight of us being transfers.
I want to say six of us are completely new and transferred over as freshmen.
So, it definitely helps being surrounded by a lot of teammates that have a better understanding of the journey I’ve gone through as they’ve similar experiences to some extent.
But it does make things a bit difficult on the volleyball court, too, obviously, because we’re basically playing with a whole new group of people.
It’s not like one or two new people.
It’s the entire group!
And I think that’s what we’ve been kind of struggling with so far.
We are just trying to put these pieces together. And I definitely think we are getting really close. But we are doing so all while playing really good teams, too.
It’s just a challenge we have to — and will — overcome, that’s all!
So, I’m excited to see how we continue to grow once conference starts.
I’d love to see us win at least one conference championship in my time here.
But most importantly, I just want to enjoy all of the cool experiences that come with being a student-athlete.
Obviously, playing well and winning games is the ultimate goal.
But in reality, what you really take away from this experience are the memories you make with your teammates. Those relationships built by traveling through airports and goofing around at hotels — that’s the kind of stuff that sticks with you longer than wins and losses.
It’s the stuff you remember forever.
I might be carrying my dad’s legacy, but I’m also here to create a legacy of my own.
And I’ll do that with the memories I make off the court as much as the ones I make on it.