Torrin Crawford looks forward to stepping up her role as middle blocker
The task of replacing two of the Big Sky’s most dominant middle blockers falls partly on sophomore Torrin Crawford heading into the 2015 volleyball season.
The volleyball season won’t start until the fall, but Crawford and the Vandals are using the spring exhibition season to prepare for another run at the Big Sky Tournament next season, as well as life without middle blockers Stephanie Hagins and Alyssa Schultz.
Hagins, who played each match in 2014, won the Big Sky Conference Newcomer of the Year last season with a .88 blocks and 2.66 points per set. Schultz earned first-team All-Big Sky honors with a .339 hitting percentage, good enough for second in the league along with her .88 blocks and 2.76 points per set. Her .339 attack percentage ranks seventh among all Vandals in history.
Crawford said she looked up to both Hagins and Schultz as role models as she was taught how to become an effective leader while keeping everyone’s focus on executing plays.
“They both taught me how to be leaders on the court because the middle (blocker) is like a leadership position,” Crawford said. “They’re both obviously great players, but they also taught me a lot about the game and like the little technical things, but also as a leader too.”
Going into the upcoming season, Crawford will be the primary middle blocker with incoming freshman Laine Waters from Tucson, Arizona, being the tentative second player at Crawford’s positon. She expects a lot on her young teammates to fill up positions and step up as stronger players going into their second season back in the Big Sky Conference.
“We are a really young team, so I think we’re learning a lot right now, but we’re making big moves and have some young kids being able to fill in roles of the older kids,” Crawford said. “I expect us to not have any gaps from last year. As they develop more to the fast paced college volleyball game, I think they will be very effective for many years to come.”
Crawford said her motivation to succeed in sports began when she was young and she learned to become a better person since attending the university. She said she hopes to help her team increase its team chemistry and to represent the university well, though she also has bigger goals, too.
“I think it will be very cool to win a conference title,” Crawford said. “I think that’s always been my dream as a college athlete to be able to win the conference.”
While some have played volleyball throughout their lives, Crawford didn’t begin playing volleyball until her sophomore year of high school, where she played two years of club volleyball after playing basketball for most of her life. Despite being relatively new to the game, Crawford was named MVP for three consecutive seasons in both volleyball and basketball for Walla Walla High School.
Last year, she played in eight games with an average of 1.58 kills per set with her best performance taking place against Weber State Oct. 23, where she had eight kills, five blocks and 21.5 total points. Crawford filled in for Schultz during the game as she was error-free en route of the team’s 11th win of the season as the Vandals swept the Wildcats 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 28-26).
So far in the spring season, Crawford has played each spring game despite a mysterious foot injury. Crawford said she is unsure what led to the injury and said there was no incident in her foot to contribute such serious injury.
Outside of volleyball, Crawford is currently majoring in exercise science, though she is aspiring to become a dental hygienist.
Luis Torres can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org