SSN Athlete Feature: Olivia Phillips

Tristan Fluhr

Serve-nt Leadership

Four-Year Varsity Starter Sets Assist Record as Team Captain

October 3 was a day that the Lady Royals volleyball team defeated another opponent on their blitz through the State of Indiana. A win from the team is a given, almost expected with the success over the past two seasons for the team. A majority of the team’s success is due to their motto “We > Me,” but on this day they were able to celebrate under the lights of the gymnasium. As the nation’s spotlight shone upon a team that just four short years ago had no national recognition, their emotional leader and team captain Senior Olivia Phillips set the career assist record with 2,507 assists and counting.

“It’s a huge accomplishment, but I have great teammates,” Phillips said. “As a setter, I don’t get assists unless our hitters get points. I also don’t get the opportunity to set unless my teammates give me great passes, which they do.”

Phillips has been on varsity the past four years, which gives her a unique perspective of watching the program turn into a nationally ranked group. Through all of those years, she has earned the respect of her teammates and coaches.

“She’s a person who advocates for her teammates,” Freshman teammate Lauren Harden said. “She has an amazing volleyball IQ. Olivia is able to make the right play at the right time to get our team to score.”

For the 2020 season, Phillips was selected as a team captain along with Taylor Lauri and Carly Mills. Phillips has been a leader on the team since her Freshman year, but she looks forward to the unique challenges to being a team captain.

“[Being a team captain] is a great honor,” Phillips said. “I’m so thankful that my teammates chose me to represent the team. For me, being a captain isn’t just all about volleyball… it’s about being that person on the team that people can go to no matter what, volleyball related or not.”

With the success of the team in recent seasons, it would be easy to assume that the team may have defined “stars,” but according to Phillips, this is not the case.

“The biggest thing [people need to realize] is that we are a family,” Phillips said. “It doesn’t matter if you have six Big-10 level players on the court, if the chemistry isn’t there, they aren’t going to win. That’s why we’re different, we’re a team and we work together.”

As the wins keep piling up for the volleyball program, the way to continue their ways is simple… to play as a family. No one knows where the volleyball team will be two, three, even five or ten years from now. However, Phillips can take satisfaction in knowing that the jumpstart of an entire program was partly due to the efforts due to her and her teammates on the court. Story by: Tristan Fluhr