Fifth-year senior Michaela Smith is listed on the roster as an outside hitter, but her presence is felt on every inch of the court.
Smith finished 2015 as an all- RMAC selection, an honor decided by the coaches of the conference. She began the month of October on a tear, earning two RMAC offensive player of the week awards in four weeks.
Smith brings explosive leaping ability to the court. Her 5-feet 10- inch frame allows her to dominate the net for the Runners, and she leads the team in kills.
Smith gave an account of how she was recruited by MSU Denver. In 2012, she graduated from Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora.
“I’ve lived in Colorado my whole life, always played volleyball in Colorado. We were at a club volleyball tournament in California. A Metro coach noticed me and came up to talk to me,” Smith said.
Opposing RMAC players and coaches cannot slow down Smith’s stellar performance.
This season, first-year head coach Jenny Glenn has tackled the task of replacing former 16-year head coach Diane Hendricks, who led MSU Denver to 16 consecutive NCAA tournaments. When asked to explain the hardships she has overcome adjusting to the abrupt coaching change, Smith said, it’s been tough.
“We didn’t have Jenny until April. Our spring season starts in February,” Smith said.
The senior elaborated on how she worked through the time of change.
“We had to learn how to work with each other,” she said.
Smith believes that the abundance of upperclassmen, which includes four seniors, provided leadership that made the 2016 volleyball team perfect to handle the coaching shift.
“Of course, leadership comes from our coaching staff, but leadership also comes from within the team, and we had to learn that when we didn’t have coach,” Smith said.
Even with a top 25 national ranking, the Roadrunners could use more support down the stretch of the season. Smith advocates for more participation from MSU Denver and alumni.
“Of course, we want to do well for ourselves, but we represent Metro,” Smith said. “We want our school to support us; we work hard in the gym every single day. We want to come into the gym on Fridays and Saturdays and show it off!”
Thee MSU Denver volleyball team remains undefeated in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play at 13-0, 12-3 overall. The Roadrunners are also sporting a 14- game winning streak.