The MNU Volleyball team is about more than winning. It is also about the family aspect and playing as a team.

Maria Eugenia Ayzager, freshman volleyball player from Uruguay, said that this team is more than just a team- they are family.    

“In one week I will have been here for two months and I feel like I know these girls for more than two months,” Ayzager said. “That is something that you can’t buy or get from a store.  It is something that you build and it is a really good feeling.”

She also talked about how she knows that she can always count on her teammates. 

 “I know that if I have a problem I have all my teammates to say, ‘Hey something is going bad with me,’ and I know that they will help me and that all the girls will be there for me,” Ayzager said. “This is awesome because that is all that I want here being far away from my family and my friends that I’ve known since childhood. I have all the support I need. Even if they don’t have to care about me they do.”  

Members of the volleyball team stand together to pray before a match. Photo by Jim Smith.Members of the volleyball team stand together to pray before a match. Photo by Jim Smith.

Their teammates aren’t the only people who care about these girls as a family. Their coach cares for them as well. 

Cat Dixon, a senior, said that their coach is always there for the team- physically and spiritually. 

“I know I can go up to coach’s office and talk to her about anything at any time. What I also love is at the end of practices we all come together and we pray,” Dixon said. “That is one of my favorite things and we always bring up prayer requests and praises for the week and everything that is happening in our lives. And each and every one of us really does care about each other. And I know I can turn to anyone on the team and they can help me out through anything. And the same with the coaches too.”

She also said that coaching the team through volleyball and plays isn’t the only thing that the coaches strive for.

“They care about us more than just athletes. They make sure that we keep up on our grades, and they pray for us daily- I know they do- and they want us to build a strong relationship with God, which I think is amazing,” Dixon said. “They want us to be more than just great athletes. They want us to be just great humans and great people and really succeed in life.  And that’s what I love about our team.”      

Kristin Steele, the head coach of the volleyball team, said that she just wants what is best for her team.  

“We’ve got a great group of kids,” Steele said. “I like that we’re able to use and translate volleyball skills into life skills. I feel like they are better people for being a part of the volleyball program and being around our culture.”

The volleyball team and coaching staff are focused on not only winning and continuing to improve in their sport, but also in life and that is what is truly important in any sport.