Gonzalez earns career milestone

By Will Conerly

Marissa Gonzalez needed to be ready to play from day one.

Gonzalez’ first two years at Quincy University fit the description of her expectation on the Quincy University women’s volleyball team. She thought she would just be a role player coming off the bench. Something changed with Gonzalez’ role as her junior year approached.

A coaching change, and a change in roles for Gonzalez. Gonzalez credits Coach Abby Moser, who has been here all four years with Gonzalez, for the increased defensive focus the team had upon the coaching change.

Gonzalez who played in 19 matches as a freshman, and 26 matches as a sophomore (making two starts), played in every match as a junior and had a historic season for the team. Gonzalez had 599 digs last year which was second all-time in school history.

Earlier this season, Gonzalez notched the 1,000 career dig mark.

“No. I didn’t expect this at  all, I didn’t even know if I was going to be playing Libero,“  Gonzalez said.

Currently, the Hawks lead the GLVC in digs and digs per set, and Gonzalez leads the team with 281 digs.

“I have just been telling myself to do my best at everything I can and just be the best that I can be, and not compare myself to others, not compare myself to other liberos in the conference even because that gets really tough because we play Lewis and Rockhurst and you look at the liberos and you think wow they are out digging me, or wow they are passing better than me, but instead of doing that I’ve just been focusing on being the best I can be,” Gonzalez explained.

Gonzalez’ success couldn’t be possible without her teammates.

“It’s more the team because if blocking doesn’t do their job then we (defense) can’t do our job behind the block. Blocking is for sure the most important thing in my eyes when it comes to defense because what we do on the back row is we set up around the block. So if there is a big hole in the block then it is impossible for us to play defense because the hitters can just tear us up,” Gonzalez said.

When fans come to watch the Hawks, they most likely will hear Gonzalez on the court.

“Off the court, I am quieter because I don’t like to order people around but on the court, I am consistently the loudest one whatever position I’m playing,” Gonzalez said. 

Most success stories have bumps along the road. The toughest part for Gonzalez was to have confidence. 

“Just believing in myself because in high school and even at QU sometimes I’ve just lacked confidence in myself, and I have no reason to but when I believe in myself, and trust myself, and trust my training I play my best.”

If Gonzalez was told she would have had 1,000 carrer digs, she would have been very suprised.

“I would have told them how. I really didn’t think that I was going to get even 500 digs,” she said.

Gonzalez transcended her old expectation and became not a role player, but a star player for the Hawks. Her persistence and hard work came to fruition. Things that seemed impossible for Gonzalez became possible.

“I have always had a blue collar type of work ethic because I knew I wasn’t always the best player on the court so I knew I would have to work harder than the other girls on the court. Either on my team or on the other team that I was competing against. One of my older club coaches used to always say, especially defense, is a blue collar work ethic skill because it is not even a technical skills it’s more of ‘I’m gonna out work and I’m going to work harder than you to keep the ball off the ground’ and you just have to commit to it and know that you are not going to let a ball hit the ground,” Gonzalez exclaimed. 

 

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