Setting up for success in the 2019 season

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Setting up for success in the 2019 season

Sophomore Zoey Peck prepares to return a spike during a match against Fairmont State

Sophomore Zoey Peck prepares to return a spike during a match against Fairmont State

AU ATHLETICS

Sophomore Zoey Peck prepares to return a spike during a match against Fairmont State

AU ATHLETICS

AU ATHLETICS

Sophomore Zoey Peck prepares to return a spike during a match against Fairmont State

Brooke Young

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“When we do good as a team and my teammates are smiling on the court, it just makes me really happy to be here,” said AU sophomore, Zoey Peck.

A fierce determination can be seen in her eyes from the moment one meets her, combined with a gentle kindness that she always puts on display. Peck is a sophomore on the AU volleyball team and one of the best setters in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference.

Although she is only a sophomore, Peck’s track record has been phenomenal in the beginning of the season. With 156 assists, 42 digs and seven kills, she was ranked fifth in the nation and was named the GLIAC South Player of the Week in honor of her impressive performances on the court.

Peck began playing volleyball in sixth grade and credits her older sister as her main inspiration for wanting to play volleyball. Her older sister “taught her the ropes” of the volleyball game by playing with her in the backyard almost a decade ago.

“I wanted to be like my sister, she was an inspiration for me,” Peck said.

Peck recounts her journey to becoming an Eagle ironic, as she was recruited by the team’s previous head coach Cass Dixon right before she left AU to coach at the Cleveland Volleyball Company. The volleyball program is not the only thing that drew Peck to AU.

“The AU professors are very understanding with the athletes on how much class they have to miss. They are lenient, understand what our job is as college athletes,” she said.

The Eagle volleyball team has had an especially successful season so far, where they currently stand 5-0 within the GLIAC and 13-2 overall.

Peck describes her integral role of setter as similar to a “quarterback” in football.

Being in charge of the offense, controlling the pace of the game and telling the hitters what to do are all responsibilities that she shoulders. However, Peck believes that every teammate is important in their own way.

“Unless the passers are getting her balls and the hitters are putting her sets away, I can’t do my job correctly,” Peck said.

Peck is motivated, both on and off the court.

“I want to play the best I can for my teammates and coaches. My coaches have high expectations of me and want me to be the best person I can be on and off the court. They always support me in everything,” Peck said.

Cass Dixon was replaced by current head coach Kevin Foeman, who began coaching during Peck’s freshman year.

“She’s one of the most important parts of the team” Foeman said. “Setters are often overlooked for hitters, due to the glamour of it, but without setters creating a ball that is hittable, nothing can be done with it.”

Foeman echoes the same determination and motivation that Peck does, stating that Peck has worked hard to become one of the driving forces on the team.

“She worked every day over the summer. She came and did reps three times a week to be the best setter” Foeman said.

While her current statistics and accomplishments are already impressive according to Foeman, he feels that Peck actively works to make her goals a reality each day.

Peck’s phenomenal abilities as well as her calm, collected and coachable personality allows her to continue improving and being the outstanding athlete she is, according to Foeman.

With the combination of Peck’s team-player attitude and passion for improvement as well as dedication to her sport, Foeman anticipates that AU volleyball will continue to be successful week by week. Peck is expected to rise and become one of the topsetters in the country by the time she graduates according to Foeman.

“She’s the perfect setter for our system,” Foeman said. “She fits it perfectly and we are very lucky to have her.”

Peck’s constant drive to improve her skills sums up her ultimate goal: to become the No. 1 setter in the nation.

The Eagles next match will be on Friday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. in Kates Gymnasium where they will face Lake Superior State.

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