Redshirt freshman middle blocker Katie Myers has battled through injuries ever since arriving in College Park.
Now, Myers leads the Big Ten in service aces as a vital member of the Terps starting lineup.
Myers was limited to only 12 matches the past two seasons due to a recurring knee injury that caused her to redshirt her freshman year. Entering this offseason Myers decided to change up her routine slightly, compared to seasons past. The new routine focused on nutrition and preventing inflammation in the injured knee.
“I kind of changed all of my habits outside of the gym, especially with eating,” Myers said. “I found nutrition helps with sleep recovery and anti-inflammatory, which I definitely needed for my knee.”
From not being able to step onto the court, to leading the conference in service aces, it has been an arduous journey for Myers. Despite the long journey, Myers never gave up and can now reflect back on the long road behind her.
“It’s kind of surreal, I always dreamed about playing in the Big Ten,” she said.
Myers is the only middle blocker ranked amongst the top servers in the conference, displaying just how unique her power from the end line is.
“The serve, I know it could always set me apart from my position group specifically, and adding points from the end line is something I can do to help my teammates out,” she said.
Head coach Adam Hughes attributes much of Myers service success this season to her combination of pace and location.
“The thing that has made [Katie] more effective this season is her ability to find spots a little bit better, doing it at a higher consistency, Hughes said.”
With a new coach and a young roster, Myers felt the need to take more of a leadership role alongside the other veteran players on the roster. Last season, senior middle blocker Hailey Murray helped guide Myers into a leadership role. Myers has returned the favor this season, helping freshman middle blocker Rainelle Jones develop and adjust to playing in the Big Ten.
“When she arrived on campus, I made sure she was doing the right things because we do not need her to go through what I went through,” she said. Myers does not want Jones to have suffer through the same injury struggles, that she endured.
Myers guidance has been extremely beneficial to Jones who has had a great start to her freshman season.
“It’s been helpful,” Jones said. “They’ve been adjusting my bad habits, and we’re still working on that as well as the coaching staff.”
Myers mentorship of Jones has not gone unnoticed by the coaching staff. Despite only playing in 12 matches entering this season, Myers has been an integral part of the program the past three seasons.
“[Katie] has become like a coach on the floor for us,” Hughes said. “It has helped someone out like Rainelle, having someone that can be next to her and talk with her.”
The Westerville, Ohio, native has a unique position in terms of leadership thanks to the standard practice of a frequent rotation between the team’s two best middle blockers. Despite how tough that can be sometimes, Myers possesses the necessary qualities to lead both and off the court.
“[Katie] has got a lot of leadership qualities in herself, that’s just who she is,” he said. “Being able to help someone like Rainelle, who is getting caught up to speed in one of the toughest conferences, is a tough task. But we are happy Katie is helping us.”
The Terps will need Myers to continue her outstanding service play as well as strong leadership with the heart of conference play looming.
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