For Sophomore middle-hitter Anna Stevenson, volleyball is not just a game, it’s a calling.
Stevenson started playing volleyball in 5th grade when she decided to quit ballet.
“I think my first memory [was] hitting, I loved hitting,” said Stevenson, recalling the first time she played volleyball. “The power of the ball was something new.”
After playing on a small team in middle school, the first few weeks of practice at her bigger and more competitive high school, the Highlands, were a challenge.
“It was zero to a hundred,” said Stevenson. “It was the hardest moment… the pressure of a new high school, the pressure of performing for this new coach, the pressure of performing for my teammates.”
After plating on JV her freshman year at the Highlands, Stevenson went on to letter in varsity volleyball for the next three years. Her time on the JV team helped develop her skill set as a middle hitter by giving her abundant playtime, said Stevenson.
“I very rarely hit it in the net now, because of that JV experience,” she said.
Foremost among her high school accomplishments is when her team made it to the state championships during her senior year. It was the first time in school history that the team made it to State, and the whole school celebrated their accomplishment, even canceling school on the day they competed and parading the team through the school.
Despite her love for volleyball that developed in high school, Stevenson did not decide to pursue volleyball at the University of Dallas until two days before her freshman season started.
“It was a call, it was a God moment,” said Stevenson, recalling a conversation with her mom after Mass that helped her realize that she would regret not looking into volleyball at UD. After the first team meeting, she decided to join.
Stevenson described how, unlike Division I or II schools, which draw a diverse group of players for the appeal of their scholarships, everyone on the team at UD is united by their choice of the culture and academics of UD.
“I think every team you’re on, you’re going to have a lot of different personalities,” said Stevenson, “but it’s really nice to know that these girls really chose UD for UD.”
Stevenson also appreciates the community that being on a team fosters within UD.
“There’s a lot of accessibility between the different classes,” said Stevenson. “I just think that’s so unique to have a group of girls who don’t care what class you’re in, who just want to support you and make sure you’re doing your best.”
During her freshman season at UD, Stevenson played 27 matches, totaling 101 kills and 135 points, and leading UD with 52 blocks, according to UD athletics.
This year, Stevenson and the team as a whole have their eyes on beating Southwestern University. Stevenson also aims at competing better with the middle hitter from Colorado College. Beyond those tangible goals, Stevenson envisions building up a culture of UD volleyball pride.
“It starts with a love for the sport as an individual, but as a team, as a group of girls, loving each other, and playing for each other when you are on the court,” said Stevenson. “You play better when you play for other people.”
Although Stevenson wants to foster that sense of playing for the team, she continues to view her volleyball career as a calling from God.
“[I play] for Christ,” said Stevenson.