Hutchinson leads Royals volleyball to a hot start

After helping the Royals women’s volleyball team to a pair of weekend ODAC wins, Paris Hutchinson has been selected as the Royals Athlete of the Week. For her performance, she was also named the ODAC Women’s Volleyball Athlete of the Week. 

EMU defeated Roanoke and Lynchburg , beating those teams for the first time in two decades. 

[EMU also beat Hollins 3-0 on Wednesday, 9/29, to go 4-0 in ODAC play. Their next match is at home, Tuesday, 10/5, against CNU at 6 p.m.]

Against Roanoke, Hutchinson had a blistering kill percentage of .483, tallying 17 kills with just three errors. She also added eight digs and two blocks. Against Lynchburg, she had a double-double, finishing with 13 kills and 16 digs. She also added three assisted blocks and a pair of aces. On the season, she leads the Royals with 151 kills and currently sits second in the ODAC with 4.08 kills/set. She also ranks fifth in the conference in total kills despite playing fewer matches than the other players in the top-four.

With the two big wins over Roanoke and Lynchburg, how were you and the team feeling afterwards? 

Going into the games last weekend, we knew that we needed to compete and play to the best of our potential. Together, we accomplished that. Winning both was such a huge success. We were all so proud and extremely happy.  

You and the team bounced back from two tough losses to get the sweep at Lynchburg, what was the mentality of the team heading into the tri-match? 

Our mentality heading into the tri-match was that we knew it would be a challenge and we had to expect the unexpected. We also had to be aware of what players were playing across the net. We went in wanting to win. We aim to play every game like it’s our last and walk off the court being able to say we left it all out there.  

This is the first time since 2001 that your team has started 3-0 in conference play. What has been working and what will you and the team keep working on? 

We have worked so hard and pushed ourselves each and every day for the outstanding outcomes we are showing out on the court. We have been very intentional and disciplined with our play. Going after it puching ourselves a little harder outside of what we’re comfortable doing and executing has been what has really worked well for us. We will continue to work regardless of what it may be. Something that we continue to work on is our communication and encouragement between one another. 

This is the first full season under Coach Steinbrecher, what has been working with how he runs the ship? 

Coach Casey is a phenomenal coach. He comes to practice everyday with a plan and knows exactly how he wants to run things. Our practices are very fundamental based. We work really hard to focus on change and bettering ourselves and not worrying about being perfect. He pushes each and every one of us to the best of our potential. 

With the bulk of ODAC play still ahead, what goals are you setting for yourself and the team? 

A few goals we want to achieve are continuing to build close knit relationships with one another on and off the court. We want to have a winning season, finish top-five in the ODAC. And we want to get stronger mentally, physically and all-around improve our game. 

Lastly, tell us your major and what it means to be a Royals student-athlete. 

I am majoring in elementary education. To be a Royals athlete is such a privilege. Some people don’t get the chance to be an athlete in college and it’s definitely something I’m very thankful for. I couldn’t do it without my outstanding coaches and amazing teammates. The support here from professors, coaches, students, families and friends is something that continues to grow and that I appreciate so much. 

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