Warhawk sets up for success

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Warhawk sets up for success

Josh Dean

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She’s won back-to-back Warhawk of the Week awards yet remains humble in her vision and determined to never feel satisfied.

Junior Hope Pawlik mans the right side of the volleyball court in her third year as part of the squad.

She grew up in Conroe, Texaswhere her first passion was soccer.

“The only reason I started playing volleyball was because I couldn’t play soccer anymore. I tore a ligament in my calf and my family and I decided I’d try a sport less strenuous,” Pawlik said.

Her talents were honed in highschool where she won first team all district her sophomore and junior years.

In 2012, she  was part of a club squad that qualified for junior nationals.

After appearing in all but 10 games her freshman year, she made all 118 sets her sophomore year.

Then she led her team in kills with 325 over the course of the year.

Entering into this season, her sights were set on improving on the other aspects of her game.

“I wanted to improve defensively and that was a big focus. I’m a big kid and big kids are said to not have good defense,” Pawlik said.

After a 5-5 start to the season, the volleyball squad strung together six wins in a row.

Two games into the streak Pawlik racked up 10 kills and 12 digs to take home her first Warhawk of the Week honors of the season.

This was followed the next week by a 23 kill and 10 dig match against UAB winning her Warhawk of the Week honors for the second time in a row.

“We were winning games. We had energy and we had the swagger about us and right now we don’t have that. It helps everyone’s performance increase when we have the swagger,” Pawlik said.

Currently, she leads the team in kills averaging 2.95 a set and is second in number of blocks behind teammate Kaitlyn Shearer.

“It helps to have the other five people doing their job and it makes my job so much easier,” Pawlik said.

The team features an upper classmen lineup consisting of six juniors and one senior.

“We definitely have the support group we need to get things done,” Pawlik said.

The inspiration for her game comes from professional athletes as well as her own teammates.

“Destiny Hooker is fantastic as a right side for the USA team. I’m also inspired by my fellow teammate Ana Rebeiro who constantly remains positive even after a loss,” Pawlik said.

Over her time on the volleyball court, Pawlik has developed a routine which she uses to prepare herself mentally before each match.

“I like to listen to symphony or calming music before games. I try not to get overly excited or overly prepared for a game, because I don’t want to psyche myself out,” Pawlik said.

The team’s six game winning streak was snapped Oct. 2 by Appalachain State in a three-set sweep.

Since then, the team has lost seven in a row and sits one game above .500.

The volleyball team has never gone to the Sun Belt Championships but still has their goal set on being the first to do so.

“I really feel like we have the chance to go to the conference tournament. Once we get some wins under our belt, get our swagger back and play like we can play I see us doing great things,” Pawlik said.