St. Edward’s seniors bid farewell to their collegiate careers


Emily Tran

St. Edward’s women’s volleyball seniors celebrate their second place finish in the Lone Star Conference Tournament.

The St. Edward’s women’s volleyball season ended in late November following their loss to West Texas A&M in the Lone Star Conference Tournament. The Hilltoppers finished the 2021 season with an overall record of 16-12 and a conference record of 8-9. 

This year’s squad was led by four seniors — Nikki Grant, Kaitlyn Krafka, Emily Tran, and Steffy Walls —who played an integral role in helping the Hilltoppers reach the LSC Championship in their final season. In the time they played together, the four seniors combined for 499 kills, 1,844 digs, 2,305 assists and 643.5 total points. The 2021-2022 class guided by Coach Holler finished their tenure with an overall record of 58-40. 

We got the chance to sit down with the four seniors and talk to them about their journey here at St. Edward’s. The players spoke about their appreciation for the school and how St. Edward’s has impacted their lives. 

“St. Eds taught me how important it is to have a small community,” setter Emily Tran said. Kaitlyn Krafka, outside hitter, added that “being on the volleyball team has taught us to be ready for the real world because you’re learning about commitment, and working towards a goal.” 

The seniors all agreed that they felt a sense of family among the players and coaching staff when visiting, which is what attracted them to the school. Libero Steffy Walls explained that on her visit, she “felt family vibes straightaway.” Another critical factor that attracted them to St. Edward’s was the newly hired head coach, Stefanie Holler. “Coach Holler was one of the main reasons we all wanted to come to school here,” libero Nikki Grant said.

Throughout their time together on the hilltop, this group of seniors made a lot of memories, but they all agreed that their last semester together was their favorite. “This year as a senior group, we really meshed and became a lot closer,” Tran said. As for on the court, their favorite memory also came this past semester during the LSC Tournament. “Upsetting all those teams at conference was awesome,” Krafka said. The Hilltoppers entered the LSC Tournament as the tenth-ranked team and defeated the seventh seed, second seed, and third-seeded teams on their way to the championship round. 

Coach Holler and this class of seniors all started their journeys on the hilltop at the same time in 2018, and this group had nothing but good things to say about their head coach. 

“Holler is so caring and sweet and truly cares about our success on and off the court,” Krafka said. “Holler has done a great job making everyone on the team feel special because she truly cares about this program,” added Walls.

There’s no doubt Nikki Grant, Kaitlyn Krafka, Emily Tran and Steffy Walls have all left their marks on the St. Edward’s volleyball program, and their legacy will continue to be carried on by the many players that follow them.