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The La Salle Falconer

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Next Level Seniors: From One Coast to Another — Hailey Heytvelt Commits to Campbell University

Kathleen Waldron
One of the biggest overall lessons Heytvelt has learned during her time playing volleyball is to stay confident among all else.

Senior Hailey Heytvelt has played volleyball seriously since the eighth grade and plays primarily as a middle blocker.

Due to her height, as she is 6 feet, 1 inch tall, her coaches have seen potential in her from the beginning. In volleyball, height is crucial for blockers and hitters as it aids them in getting above the net. Heytvelt began volleyball through CYO, or Catholic Youth Organization.

Although she originally began familiarizing herself with the sport when she was in fifth grade, she never took it seriously due to her commitment to dance.

Dance previously overwhelmed her schedule, leaving little time for volleyball. She was only able to attend a few practices, so she couldn’t get adequate exposure to the sport. Heytvelt first tried basketball, as her father played, but decided it wasn’t for her because it is a contact sport. Heytvelt then turned to volleyball hoping for a change of scenery in athletics and decided to fully commit to volleyball once she discovered that she had potential.

“Once I joined freshman year, since I was tall, I was put into the middle position and ever since then, I’ve just worked hard in that position and I’ve grown very fond of it,” she said.

Heytvelt loves playing as a middle hitter and blocker and attributes her success to her hard work in the position. She appreciates that from the beginning of her career, she was able to play in this position which has given her ample time to grow her skills.

Due to her performance in the sport being recognized, she has earned a spot on Campbell University’s Division 1 volleyball team. With this, she joins The Falconer’s Next Level Seniors series, designed to honor the select group of students who have committed to playing a sport at the collegiate level.

Flashing back to her early days of volleyball, the first club Heytvelt played for was Northwest Aspire. She attended numerous summer camps the summer following eighth grade to gain more experience and since then, Heytvelt has found herself truly enjoying the sport.

One of the biggest overall lessons Heytvelt has learned during her time playing volleyball is to stay confident among all else. (Photo courtesy of Hailey Heytvelt)

Over the years, Heytvelt has played for several different club teams. When she was 14, she played for Northwest Aspire, and since then, she has played for Oregon Juniors Volleyball Academy (OJVA). Since she was 15, she was playing for a 18’s age-level team, the 18-1 Gold Team to be specific, meaning she was playing up nearly three grade levels.

The transition from Northwest Aspire to OJVA was an easy decision for her, as she loved the coaching style at OJVA and realized that after taking summer camps there, she was improving quickly. Despite the competitive environment and the strict coaching, Heytvelt has stuck with the club. 

“They’ve been the best club out there, I feel, and they just make incredible players,” Heytvelt said. “So I’m definitely glad I joined.”

Although she loves club, she also recognizes that it varies immensely from volleyball at La Salle.

“There’s definitely some people that do play club [volleyball] and there’s others where this is their very first time playing volleyball ever,” Heytvelt said. “So there’s definitely a very diverse group, which makes it fun.”

Heytvelt also sees a difference in coaching, as volleyball at La Salle can be more lenient, as she says, whereas coaches in club expect you to never mess up.

Despite the differences in intensity of coaches, Heytvelt learned to not take comments personally and use them to improve. She says that she has noticed that kids tend to respond better to feedback when the comments are harsher and urge them to change rather than if the feedback is gently fed to them. 

Heytvelt’s favorite memory playing at OJVA is from when she was 16 and her team won the division regionals at the Portland Expo Center tournament. Her favorite memory of playing volleyball at La Salle was when her team beat Wilsonville. 

Heytvelt appreciates her team for sticking together during coaching changeovers, but has two specific individuals that she has the most respect for. The first is sophomore and setter Abby Maulding. Heytvelt feels that their relationship has been very beneficial both on and off the court.

“I was able to grow a pretty close relationship with her, and it was just cool having a really good connection because being a middle, it’s important to have a really good and close relationship with your setter,” Heytvelt said. Maulding plays setter for La Salle’s volleyball team.

The other player Heytvelt has recognized as impactful is senior Emmalyn Dinh. She plays libero for La Salle’s team. 

“[Dinh] is able to stay very calm in situations that might be difficult or challenging, and so I can see on her face that she’s calm and encouraging others and everything, so I learned from her to stay calm even if we’re down by ten [points],” she said.

One of the biggest overall lessons Heytvelt has learned during her time playing volleyball is to stay confident among all else.
(Photo courtesy of Hailey Heytvelt)

Another important figure on the team for Heytvelt is coach Anna Dillard. She was Heytvelt’s coach for her freshman, sophomore, and junior years, and she still remains a source of inspiration for Heytvelt.

“I’ve been a varsity starter basically my whole life and I find that as a great privilege,” she said. “I give all my credit to Anna because she is the one who basically put all this confidence in myself and she would always encourage me because sometimes I’ll get down on myself whenever I make mistakes.”

Despite the change in coaching staff at the beginning of her senior year, as Dillard resigned, Heytvelt remained positive and now offers advice to those going through similar situations. 

“Even if there’s a coach switch-up, it doesn’t just matter about who’s your coach… it just matters about who your teammates are,” she said.

Although Heytvelt strongly values teamwork, the college recruiting was an effort she had to go at alone. The process began for her the summer after her sophomore year. She had been in contact with many coaches via email, but they were not allowed to respond until that summer. 

When browsing colleges, hoping to find one that would serve as a good fit for her, Heytvelt was in search of a smaller private school. She realized that at bigger, public schools, the people playing in her position, as a middle, were taller or more capable than her which meant she might not be able to play until her sophomore or junior year of college. 

When she researched Campbell University, Heytvelt was initially drawn towards it as it is a private Christian school with a roster that she felt wasn’t too intimidating in terms of the players heights. After a visit to Campbell, she fell in love with their campus and the volleyball coach seemed to be a perfect fit for her.

Her freshman year at Campbell, she will be rooming with the fourth person to commit to the volleyball program, as she was the third. Heytvelt is excited for this opportunity, as she feels that sharing a space with someone who understands the difficulties of balancing life as a student-athlete will be beneficial.  

Outside of her athletic career, Heytvelt hopes to go into the medical field. As she looked more into the school, she discovered their biology program was up to her standards as well, which spiked her interest even more. 

“My whole family is in the medical field and then this year, taking Anatomy and Physiology with Mr. Kain, it’s just been a really cool experience,” she said. “I feel like learning about the body and stuff that’s involved with yourself is really important and you can use that information whenever and wherever. It’s very useful.” 

Heytvelt feels she can be very determined and focused in the medical field and is hoping to study biology or other sciences as she enters college. 

“I love helping other people whenever I can,” she said.

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