EWU Volleyball Shifts Focus and Roster; Adds Eight New Players to Team


Ivone Garza for The Easterner

EWU’s Volleyball team huddles after a point in a match against Northern Arizona University last season

By Riley Baker, Staff Reporter

It appears the EWU volleyball program is rebuilding its team around a new set of values.

Head coach Mike King announced on April 14 that the program acquired eight new players, six of which signed national letters of intent, along with a pair of walk-ons.

“The first thing they bring is an all-in attitude,” said King. “The values, the beliefs, the mission; they’re invested in it. Not only are they invested into the concept of what we recruited them on, but they’re invested in the process of that concept.”

The eight newcomers double the roster that was temporarily sitting with eight players after a shift amongst the team following last season.

Since the end of last season, four players transferred out of the program and one graduated.

Some players were not all-in after the coaching changes that made King head coach in October of 2015 and Diana Villalpando as assistant coach in February, King said. The way the program was moving, it ended up not being for everyone.

“At the end of the day it wasn’t the right fit for them in terms of what they were willing to sacrifice and what we were willing to sacrifice,” King said.

Now, with new players coming in, King said he really wants to establish a culture among the new team.

“When you’re bringing eight players in, if the culture is not well established, then it has the opportunity to go a multitude of different directions,” said King. “The real focus is establishing a very core set of beliefs, values and habits with the players we currently have in our program. I feel very, very comfortable saying that the players we do have in our program are 100 percent bought in with our values and our beliefs.”

After finishing last season with a record of 13-13, King wants to give his players an experience they’re proud of.

“Go to work and get your hands dirty,” said King. “That’s what we recruited to. That experience of everyday when you walk in there’s a purpose behind what we do and there’s a method behind what we do.”

King added that the program’s vision is to be Big Sky Conference championship contenders every year.

Hard work pays off, and if each of the new recruits buy in to the team’s new culture, EWU volleyball could see plenty of success over the next few years.