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July 2, 2022

Athlete of the Week: Evelyn Batista — Volleyball

By JOSH FELTON | October 28, 2021

aotw-evelyn

COURTESY OF HOPKINSSPORTS.COM 

Freshman defensive specialist Evelyn Batista is second on the team in digs with 194, second in service aces with 33 and fourth in assists with 30. 

The women’s volleyball team is playing some of the most dominant volleyball in collegiate history and that is not an exaggeration. After going 35-0 in 2019, the team is 25-0 this year, tying them for the Division-III (D-III) record of consecutive wins.

This week’s Athlete of the Week is defensive specialist Evelyn Batista. As a freshman, she is second on the team in digs with 194, second in service aces with 33 and fourth in assists with 30. She recorded a whopping 23 digs in last week's matches en route to a 3-0 record.

Evelyn spoke with The News-Letter to reflect on her performance and the team’s phenomenal season.

The News-Letter: How have you felt about your performances this year in general?

Evelyn Batista: I’m pretty confident in my performance this year. Coming in as a freshman I wasn’t expecting to play much, especially since [the team] had won the national championship previously. However, after the opportunities were given to me, I was eager to make the most of my time on the court. A lot of the skills that I have learned and developed this year are due to my teammates challenging me in practice and being coached at a high level. It’s been really awesome!

N-L: How would you describe your progression this season?

EB: I’ve become a more mature player, being around so many older players. We have four seniors and two graduate students so there’s a lot of experienced players, which has allowed me to grow in my confidence and learning of the game.

N-L: Are there any plays in particular that you’re very proud of? 

EB: Yes, one of them was early in the season. I was still getting to know the middle-back position, which requires me to read the hitters and put myself in the best position to get a nice ball up. As I was getting ready to swing, I was on the ground and served a really good attack and got a nice dig. It really increased my confidence playing in the back row.

This past weekend, I was on a serving run against [Christopher Newport University] and I had served a ball that looked like it would go out of bounds, but then I saw it hit the ground and I had scored an ace. It was really awesome. I was able to increase my confidence and serve much more aggressively.

N-L: How does it feel to be unbeaten on the year and to be tied for the D-III record in consecutive wins? Do you feel any added pressure to remain undefeated?

EB: It’s really exciting to be undefeated. I‘ve never been on an undefeated team before. It’s all thanks to our team’s hard work and resilience. During practice and games, we go in with an aggressive mindset but we are still able to maintain our calm confidence, which is really important during [high] pressure situations. 

Most of us don’t really consider [the D-III consecutive win streak] going into the game. We do try to put ourselves in the best position for the postseason and just try to win as many games as possible so we can host the Centennial Conference championships and all of the regional [National Collegiate Athletic Association] tournaments.

N-L: What does it feel like going into every game knowing there’s a target on your back? 

EB: It’s pretty exciting just to know every team is going to give us their best game. We really love the competition and that’s why we play the sport, so when teams play as aggressive[ly] as possible it allows us to grow by fighting back and learning how to defeat those teams who really want to win. We just push back even harder.

N-L: How do you feel going forward in the tournament?

EB: We feel great. There’s still some areas we want to improve on. We can always get better, but I think we are just excited to keep putting our best foot forward and learning from new opponents and people who are going to challenge us along the way.

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