For volleyball setters, striking a balance on and off the court is important

by Cindy Luis November 01, 2010 in Volleyball


It takes a different mentality to be a setter, particularly a successful one at a high-profile collegiate program.

It requires the right combination of intelligence and instinct, of passion and persistence, and all done with the unselfishness that goes beyond that assist total that shows up in the boxscore.

Setters are used to giving. But for Nebraska’s Sydney Anderson, Washington’s Jenna Hagglund and California’s Carli Lloyd, the giving is not just limited to the court. While the three have excelled in the four Cs of the inaugural Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award for volleyball, it’s most notably the ‘C’ of Community that has them standing out.


Anderson has a personal interest in Special Olympics. The sociology major has a cousin with Down Syndrome and “I love seeing the smiles on their faces,” she said. “My family is huge. My parents raised me to be caring, to look for opportunities to help others who need it.

“Volleyball is my love and I enjoy being able to share that passion for the game when we do clinics. I want to pursue volleyball as much as I can ... professionally, with the national team ... and eventually coaching. I want to stay involved with kids.”

The two-time All-American is in her second season as the Huskers captain. Nebraska coach John Cook placed a lot of trust in Anderson, who transferred from Utah after being named the Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year.

”Sydney loves to compete,” Cook said. “She’s a gym rat, loves to play the game.

“She has really matured since she has been at Nebraska, has become a much more focused student. When she graduates, we lose a great competitor who has a tremendous passion for the game. She is someone who will still be playing when she’s 50 years old.”

Asked if he was surprised by anything Anderson has done, Cook replied: “She is the best female ping-pong player I have ever played. She is really good.”


What Washington coach Jim McLaughlin will miss in Hagglund is her work ethic.

“She has few, if any flaws, with her setting. Mechanically, she is just so efficient,” McLaughlin said. “She’s awesome and what you see is what you get.

“The deal is that if you’re everywhere then you’re no where. She is very efficient with her time, also, and she has found the balance between school, volleyball and helping other people.”

Hagglund is a business marketing major with a 3.53 GPA and several conference and district all-academic honors. She said her selection for a high school leadership association helped her learn to prioritize, how to give back and still excel in several areas.

“When little things are important, you have to find time for them,” Hagglund said. “I want to set a good example for young athletes. I want to be as great as I can be as a person, student and an athlete.

“I hope to keep playing, shoot for the Olympics. But wherever I go, I want to keep giving back.”

The two-time All-American, second in assists all-time in the UW record book, has volunteered at the Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House.

“The hospital is not the happiest place, but it’s so special to be able to give them a good day just because it’s us, and we’re hanging out with them,” Hagglund said of her and her teammates. “Their faces light up and it’s a feeling that can’t be matched.”


Lloyd didn’t have to look far for role models. Her parents also were foster parents for a number of disadvantaged youngsters, and both her mother and uncle were her coaches.

“I want to be a role mode for people of all ages, but I love working with kids,” the social welfare major said. “I think having a good childhood is really important. Those first 12-13 years are so critical.

“I’ve got a million dreams. Own a business, be a marriage counselor, be a youth counselor, play professionally, be on the Olympic team. But when I look at all those dreams, it always falls back to being involved with kids.”

Lloyd, involved in tutoring fifth graders, has a 3.53 GPA. The two-time All-American and Pac-10 all-academic holds the single-season and career assist records at Cal.

“Her family is really important to her and her core values have come from that,” Golden Bears coach Rich Feller said. “I’d hire her in a heartbeat. I’d want her as a friend and a family member, she’s such a solid citizen.

“On the court, she’s ultracompetitive. She could be a phenomenal attacker but she’s answered the call for us as our setter. She takes charge and shares the wealth.”

“I just want to set the right example for my teammates,” Lloyd said. “I strive to make the right decisions. It’s been a struggle, balancing everything, but it’s doable because it’s really important.”