Student Life

SAU Women’s Volleyball Season Recap

The St. Ambrose University Women’s Volleyball team finished their latest season after earning a bid to nationals. Since the volleyball program has never before sought out the annual national tournament, the excitement surrounding the final moment of this year’s season will remain memorable. Through the challenges of the 2022 conference season, the SAU Volleyball team has experienced a rollercoaster of emotions as the seniors begin to hang up their shoes.

Outsider hitter and captain Jill Kavalauskas transferred into SAU as a sophomore and is currently in school to earn a master’s degree. With her total of four years attending St. Ambrose Kavalauskas has held herself accountable when balancing academics and athletics. Being a captain for three of the four years she has played, Kavalauskas has become a trust worthy role model to her peers.

“A personal goal from the second I got here was to bring home a conference championship”, Kavalauskas said. “I am still heartbroken that we could not do that, but playing in the national tournament was an amazing accomplishment as well”.

Jill Kavalauskas demonstrates what determination and dedication look like on the volleyball court. She represents what it means to be a part of something bigger than herself. Not only does Kavalauskas embrace her passion for the game, she creates a healthy environment for her teammates to join.

“When I’m in a match it feels like nothing else matters. I could cancel everything going on in my life at the time and just focus on only one thing”, Kavalauskas said. “I could have the worst day ever but go in and just hit the ball as hard as I can. In the last 13 years, it’s been my happy place”.

Senior libero Isabelle Todd has dedicated four years to the team and demonstrates the responsibility of being a good teammate. Towards the end of the season, Todd experienced one of her most memorable events to take place in her time playing for SAU.

“My favorite game was senior night! My team did such a great job of making the night so special”, Todd said. “It was bittersweet having my parents be able to support me for one of my last games after 11 years of volleyball. The underclassmen ensured the gym was packed, the locker room and gym was beautifully decorated, and they made all of us feel so appreciated and loved”.

Although the game of volleyball calls for only six players on the court at a time, the SAU women’s volleyball team has revealed that it takes the entire team to win a game. Todd emphasizes how emotional support from fellow teammates can make all of the difference during an intense game.

“It’s surreal, playing the game you love for the people you love. Something our team established day one is we were not going to be selfish players but selfless players”, Todd said. “No matter who is on the court we always play for the person next to us and that is what separates our team from others. It is evident our outstanding team chemistry is what separates us from other teams we play”. 

Although the St. Ambrose University women’s volleyball team is losing a handful of seniors, the excitement for next season has already begun to set in. Stay tuned for updates concerning the 2023 season on the SAU athletics webpage!