Avila rock of consistency in rocky seasonMelissa Avila has been a rock of consistency for the Dickinson State volleyball team in what has already been a very rocky season.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Melissa Avila has been a rock of consistency for the Dickinson State volleyball team in what has already been a very rocky season.
“For me to do my part is the most important thing,” Avila said. “No matter where it is on the court, whether it be hitting, passing, setting. I’m going to do my best for my teammates.”
So far, that’s exactly what she has done.
The junior leads the Blue Hawks with 118 kills, 163 assists and 18 aces this season. She’s second on the team in digs with 184.
Avila, who transferred to DSU this year from Gavilan College in her hometown of Gilroy, Calif., has been everywhere on the court for the Blue Hawks, leading the charge no matter what rotation the team plays.
At Gavilan, she played setter and began the fall at DSU in the same position before former head coach Maura Bronte, who resigned on Sept. 18, moved her to outside hitter to utilize her swinging ability.
Lately, she has been playing both positions in the team’s 6-2 rotation. She sets when she rotates to the back row and hits in the front row.
“I definitely think the lineup that we’ve been doing has been working pretty well,” DSU interim head coach Jennifer Hartman said. “She seems to be pretty comfortable in the position.”
Avila will try and help the Blue Hawks (2-13) snap an eight-match losing skid — they didn’t win in September — when they host former Dakota Athletic Conference rival Valley City State at 7 p.m. today in the first of two homecoming matches this week. Montana Western comes to Scott Gymnasium at 5 p.m. Saturday for a Frontier Conference match.
“We have a lot to prove, not only to ourselves, but to the people who are supporting us right now,” Avila said. “So it’s just to go out there, give 110 percent every single day, no matter what. Whether we win or lose, if we know that we left our heart out on the court and we did our best, that’s the most important thing to us now. The wins will come.”
One of the Blue Hawks who must come to play is Avila.
DSU junior libero Chelsea Seibel said, on the court, Avila is not much of a vocal leader. Instead, she lets her game do the talking.
“She’s one of our strongest hitters, one of our strongest setters, probably one of our best defenders,” Seibel said. “She’s all-around just a really strong player, a good leader, brings a lot of positivity to the court.”
Hartman, who was a student assistant up until two weeks ago, played for the Blue Hawks the past four years.
“I’m actually extremely jealous that I don’t get to play with the team we have now,” she said. “Every person is extremely dedicated and determined. Just their drive in general is amazing to see. Mel definitely is one of those players.”
With four home matches in the next 10 days, DSU has a chance to begin turning its season around. They haven’t won since beating Valley City State in five sets on Aug. 31.
“We’re definitely getting better,” Avila said. “Day by day, we’re getting better.”