Adjusting to college life has historically provided multiple trials to the incoming freshman. Whether it be choosing the right schedule, fighting homesickness, or trying just to fit in, new students have a rough time of it. This does not seem to be the case for freshman outside hitter Yulia Vtyurina of the volleyball team. Her contribution to the Hoyas, rounded out with great overall team play, has propelled them to the greatest season in decades. “I knew she would be someone who would be very strong at some point. I didn’t know it would be so quickly,” Head Coach Jolene Nagel said, when asked about Vtyurina’s potential. The Big East has already felt the presence of [Vtyurina by naming her Big East Rookie of the Week]( three times. She also is ranked fourth in the conference for hitting percentage (.332), for overall matches, and third in service aces (.50 per game) in Big East matches. On the Hoyas’ squad she leads the team in digs with 2.75 per game. “She has done a great job, she’s come in and played a big role for us offensively, and does very well defensively to hold her own,” Nagel said. Vtyurina comes to the women’s squad from Moscow, Russia, and brings with her a different, more powerful level of play. The 6-foot-2 outside hitter has consistently led or was second in kills for the Hoyas. However, it is not the number of kills she contributes, but the force she uses that is so impressive. Spectators of the women’s matches are awed when Vtyrunia slams another point for the Hoyas. Yet the best measure of her impact is the opposing team’s middle blockers holding their wrists, while making faces of immense pain after another Vtyurina kill. Volleyball is a team sport, though, and leaves little room for the likes of Michael Jordan or Mark McGwire. “The thing with volleyball, you can have some standout individual, but you need the whole team to be successful,” Nagel said. Successful is definitely the word for the Hoyas volleyball pre-season play and their undefeated run in the Big East. [They boast a 17-3 record](, and, as of Oct. 18, the Hoyas’ District I rankings placed them at the top again. Playing outside hitter, however, is not Vtyurina’s only strength. She brings impressive all-around play, with contributions from the back row and in service. Just as her digs and serves set up other team members for successful plays, Vtyurina receives good ball movement from her teammates to create a commanding group effort. Two tests of the team’s ability will come this weekend at McDonough Gym Saturday at 5 p.m. when St. John’s will go head to head with the Hoyas. However, Sunday’s match against Connecticut will pair up District I first- and second-ranked teams. “Both are very important matches, and will be enjoyable to watch,” Nagel said.

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