By KATELYN MASSARELLI
Freshman middle blocker Taylor Fosler’s first season with UT’s volleyball team has proven her to be a strong defensive player. Just this season, she has managed to make 113 kills and a hitting average of .289. Her performances against Eckerd, Rollins and Embry-Riddle earned her Sunshine State Conference (SSC) Defensive Player of the Week for the week of Oct. 24-30.
During the match-up against Eckerd, Fosler managed to make six kills and five blocks that helped UT get 3-0 win. Against Rollins, she made three blocks and the team claimed another 3-0 win. Fosler continued to dominate the court against Embry-Riddle alongside senior outside hitter Allee Stelogeannis as the Spartans took another 3-0 win.
This land the team at a 17 win mark this season. Fosler’s SSC honor proved not only to be a strong week of defense, but a strong beginning for the new collegiate athlete.
Although this is her first season on the roster, Fosler has a lot of familiarity with her program. The freshman attended volleyball camps at UT with her high school and throughout the four years, she became comfortable with the environment which made her decision to come to UT an easy choice.
“I got offers from other schools, but Tampa is really the only school I visited and was interested in: it was the perfect fit for me,” Fosler said.
Playing volleyball for her high school team impacted her view of the game as a player. During her freshman year, was when her former volleyball coach convinced her to try out for the team, even though she was already involved in soccer. What started off as something fun was enough for Fosler to drop soccer and commit to volleyball and become the best volleyball player she could be.
“My high school coach is the one who pushed me to play even as a freshman when I was terrible,” Fosler said. “He saw something in me that really no one else saw, including myself. Pretty soon I started to get the hang of it and by my sophomore year I was starting middle of the varsity team.”
Fosler knew volleyball was special to her as she continued to progress in high school. Now in college, she has noticed a lot of growth after a not-so-easy season making the transition from high school to college. She uses her struggles as a way to excite her for the many more matches and tournaments to come in her collegiate career.
The continued support from coaches and teammates is something Fosler appreciates and makes her continue to work hard pushing limits to make her a better teammate. Her continued success has not gone unnoticed by volleyball head coach Chris Catanach.
Catanach said, SSC Defensive Player of the Week is a great accomplishment for Fosler and she had a great week of blocking. He noted Fosler as a focused player when it comes to improving and helping her team win.
“Taylor is improving every day,” Catanach said. “She is becoming an offensive and defensive threat. My hope is that she will become a double digit kill player and average one block per set during her career.”
SSC Defensive Player of the Week is a distinction that only encourages Fosler to continue to work harder. Fosler puts great emphasis on not focusing too much on the honor because the work she puts into the sport alongside her team is what matters most.
She tries to appreciate every moment she gets to play volleyball for UT and she takes pride in being a Spartan.
“I’m in love with the game just like when I started and it was all new and exciting,” Fosler said. “That love is still with me today. That is why I play.”
Katelyn Massarelli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org