Volleyball seniors reflect on final home game on the Mesa


Sam Mayo

(Left to right) Defensive specialist Sam McGrath, middle blocker Tamia Reeves, defensive specialist Loren Teter, Emily Burns and outside hitter Hannah Turnlund pose for a photo on Senior Night before the Aztecs’ 3-1 victory over Air Force on Nov. 14 at Peterson Gym.

by Breven Honda, Staff Writer

When a season nears the end, the seniors try to embrace every moment – especially the final home game.

San Diego State volleyball made sure it finished its home schedule on a high note with a four-set victory over Air Force on Nov. 14 at Peterson Gym.

Senior middle blocker Tamia Reeves said the match was bittersweet since it was her last home game.

“It’s one of our bigger games for us in conference at home, so we finished well,” Reeves said. “It’s nostalgic getting to finish all four years here.”

Reeves is one of five seniors in the program who were recognized after Thursday’s victory.

The 6-foot-2 middle blocker said she could not have completed her four years anywhere else but SDSU.

“We’ve worked hard for four years, and we’re all coming out in the same class,” Reeves said. “It’s been a roller coaster with them and really wouldn’t have wanted to spend it with anyone else.” 

Head coach Deitre Collins-Parker told Reeves that she was too short, too small and wanted to get someone else in her spot.

Reves, who stands at 6-foot-2, kept working to not only be a presence for SDSU but also to become one of the best in the Mountain West Conference.

“She was just as feisty and fighting and to where she is one of the top hitters San Diego State has (ever) seen,” Collins-Parker said. “I appreciate that me telling her she couldn’t, only made her prove that she could and she’s respected in the conference.”

The quote “hard work pays off” can be applied to this season.

Collins-Parker said not only Reeves, but the seniors as a collective, made the choice to be better this season.

“It has been so up and down, and they decided this year that they were going to be good,” Collins-Parker said. “They have really worked hard every day. They have set the tone for the rest. They have been good to the girls younger to them and it has been a while where we had a group that made a decision the team needed.”

One of those younger girls is sophomore outside hitter Victoria O’Sullivan.

O’Sullivan said when she first came to the Mesa, she got a warm greeting that marked the start of many long-lasting relationships.

“Coming in last year, they all welcomed me so much,” O’Sullivan said. “They have become some of my best friends. Seeing them leave is really hard.”

O’Sullivan said the energy of college volleyball has been overwhelming, but the seniors found a way to calm the team down.

“Coming in here is hard, mental-wise,” O’Sullivan said, “Staying mentally tough and having fun. We joke around. (They try to keep) the balance between having fun and working hard.”

Playing in front of O’Sullivan is senior outside hitter Hannah Turnlund.

In between the second and third sets, Turnlund said she hoped to enjoy the match because it was her final match at home.

“I told the girls that it is our last night playing here and we want to have fun,” Turnlund said.

Turlund has enjoyed every moment with her teammates, especially the seniors.

“It’s been a great ride with all of them,” Turnlund said. “They have all been here since the start, so it’s been awesome to see them grow and play along great people.”

Despite all the offense, defense gives the team more opportunities on the attacking side.

In addition to Reeves and Turnlund, the other seniors are Emily Burns and defensive specialists Loren Teter and Sam McGrath.

Collins-Parker said back row players like Teter and McGrath have become important pieces to making the season better.

“Our season turned around because of our back row,” Collins-Parker said. “We’ve always been offensive, but to now be offensive and be able to stay in the game because we are making digs and making plays, that changed our season.”

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