2 SEU volleyball players receive conference honors; start season with winning record


Juan Diaz

Melissa McNeil serves against Texas A&M International University.

Two St. Edward’s volleyball players, Melissa McNeil and Morgan Beckham, were rewarded with individual Heartland Conference recognition in just the first month of the season.

Beckham, who was recently awarded Heartland Conference Defensive Player of the Week, says she was surprised when she heard that she was recognized for her achievement, especially so early into the season.

“It was the first week [of competing] so I wasn’t expecting that,” Beckham says. “It was a really good start to the season and just got me excited for the rest of the season and what great things could come.”

The senior libero then went on to say that she hopes her defensive presence can be felt on the court while also inspiring her teammates to always stay sharp against their opponents.

As her last year as a member of the volleyball team begins, Beckham says that the relationships she has built through the program have meant a great deal to her and hopes to lead the team to victory the conference tournament; possibly even getting to the NCAA tournament.

“Definitely, the people [have been my favorite part]. All of them are my best friends,” Beckham says. “ I’ve loved every year I’ve been here; I’m excited to make this last one the best one.”

McNeil, sophomore outside hitter, was recently recognized as Heartland Conference Offensive Player of the Week and marks the first collegiate accolade she has received in her athletic career with the university.

“I hope to get more,” McNeil said with confidence as she is determined to keep working hard towards more recognized excellence.

For McNeil, spending so much time with her teammates has been her favorite part and credits them for not only her overall improvement on the court but by also having a big impact on her off the court.

“Just being around these girls makes me a better person because they’re all so great and so nice. It’s just great being a part of this family.”

Stefanie Holler, the team’s head coach, says that the high-level play of these two has contributed to an encouraging 10-6 record in just the first month of the season.

Holler also stated that she is proud of McNeil for her first conference recognition.

“She’s been working extremely hard at practice, in the weight room and off the court as well,” Holler said. “She’s just rising to the occasion, it’s really fun to see. … She’s big at the net, she’s a great team player and she has a lot of energy.”

Holler had similar praise for Beckham’s defensive efforts as a big part of the team’s early success.

“Her job is to dig and keep the ball off the floor, and she does a fantastic job of that. This is her senior year, so she’s really bought into the culture of the program and she has the trust of her teammates,” Holler said. “She’s a go-getter.”

The volleyball team has their official home opener against conference rival Newman University Sept. 27 at 7 pm.