Sophomore middle blocker takes knowledge to ascend into starting role

Sophomore+middle+blocker+Andrea+Walker+prepares+for+the+next+play+during+the+Aztecs%E2%80%99+3-1+loss+to+UNLV+on+Oct.+3.
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Sophomore middle blocker takes knowledge to ascend into starting role

Sophomore middle blocker Andrea Walker prepares for the next play during the Aztecs’ 3-1 loss to UNLV on Oct. 3.

Sophomore middle blocker Andrea Walker prepares for the next play during the Aztecs’ 3-1 loss to UNLV on Oct. 3.

Sam Mayo

Sophomore middle blocker Andrea Walker prepares for the next play during the Aztecs’ 3-1 loss to UNLV on Oct. 3.

Sam Mayo

Sam Mayo

Sophomore middle blocker Andrea Walker prepares for the next play during the Aztecs’ 3-1 loss to UNLV on Oct. 3.

by Breven Honda, Staff Writer

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San Diego State volleyball sophomore middle blocker Andrea Walker has had the chance to learn from two good, if not great, middle blockers.

However, as she was learning the past couple of seasons, Walker had to find herself in order to be the player she is today.

“Last year, she got to be behind some phenomenal middle (blockers),” head coach Deitre Collins-Parker said. “I’m sure she learned and watched, but she really developed who she is and I think that’s what’s key for her: who is she and what can she bring.”

Last season, Walker had the chance to gain knowledge from the program’s all-time block assists leader, Deja Harris.

This season, she is learning from senior middle blocker Tamia Reeves, who currently leads the Mountain West Conference with a .407 attack percentage.

While watching both Reeves and Harris the past couple of seasons, Walker said she noticed both of their techniques.

Walker also realizes  playing college volleyball is a lot different than high school or club, so she has been adjusting to the pace of the game.

“Before you come to come to college, nothing is as fast, so my big thing was speeding up my game and it really helped a lot to watch the players in front of me and how they play fast,” Walker said.

Every year, SDSU has had a duo of middle blockers that has performed.

Last season, it was Harris and Reeves. This season, it has become Reeves and Walker.

Walker said she has relished every moment so far this season playing with the 6-foot-2 Texas native.

“It’s so exciting,” Walker said. “I love it. There’s nothing more to say. It feels natural. I respect everyone who has played in front of me, everyone behind me, we’re all really good.”

As Walker continues to gain playing time, people tend to take notice.

Collins-Parker said Walker’s improvement, along with the consistency of Reeves, gives the team depth and high performances to show the other MWC teams.

“Offensively, (Walker) has done some good things for us,” Collins-Parker said. “Our middle (blockers) are ranked in the top 10 in conference. (Walker’s) moving up into that and it is important for us to score from there.”

Since Walker’s first start against UNLV on Oct. 3, she has posted 89 kills for a .332 attack percentage.

Overall this season, she owns a .310 attack percentage, which currently ranks ninth in the MWC.

Collins-Parker said as she gets more experience, she will find a way to adjust quicker.

“(Walker) got a slow start and has picked it up,” Collins-Parker said. “She starts out feeling things, but then she turns on a new motor and once she realizes she can do it, she goes.”

The 6-foot native from Fairfield, California is one of many players that are part of the long term.

“Our young players are growing every match,” Collins-Parker said. “(The underclassmen) are people that are all coming back that continue to elevate their game. We’ve got a lot to look forward to with the group that we have.”

The Aztecs finish their home schedule against Air Force on Nov. 14.

Editor’s note: SDSU defeated Fresno State on Nov. 12 in three sets.

Breven Honda is a junior studying journalism. Follow him on Twitter @BrevenHonda.

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