Back in August, while most UC Davis students were busy soaking up their final month of sunshine and summertime, our female Athlete of the Quarter was already kick-starting her most successful volleyball season to date.
Junior outside hitter/middle blocker Kaylin Squyres wasted no time in setting her standards high for the 2014 season. At the team’s first official outing, the Rice Invitational, Squyres totaled 47 kills in 9 sets, earning all-tournament honors. Just a month later, she went on to capture the Big West Player of the Week award. She accomplished this feat three more times this fall, setting a new school record and out-earning every other student-athlete in the league in this category for the season.
Despite such personal success, Squyres was admirably humble and team-oriented in regards to her season.
“I would say that my favorite moment — I guess it’s not one particular moment, but it’s the time when our team started to peak in skill and in the way that we started to come together as an entire team and not just as individuals,” Squyres said when asked about her favorite moment from this season. “I think that was really evident in the game against UC Irvine at home. That particular game was my favorite, showing how far we’ve come in skill and as a team.”
In spite of Squyres’ modest response, it’s clear that one of her season highlights was her career high of 25 kills in the match against Cal State Fullerton in mid-October. She also managed 20 or more kills in six other matches. Performances like this allowed Squyres to rank fifth in the AVCA Pacific North Region in kills per set, and improved her average kills per set from a rate of 2.72 in 2013 to a conference-leading rate of 4.12 for the 2014 season.
Squyres commented that her vastly improved rate for kills per set was the result of a tougher mindset this season.
“I became a lot more aggressive, I had a higher attack mentality and I was trying to take risks without making too many mistakes,” Squyres remarked.
Notably, Squyres also led the Big West in total points (498.5) and in points per set (4.7). The culmination to all of Squyres’ accomplishments this fall came when she made the All-Big West Conference first team, an accolade that is part of the league’s year-end awards.
“I’m really glad I got to be a part of that team. Our conference is really tough competition — there are so many good girls playing in Big West. It’s a great honor,” Squyres said regarding her accomplishments.
Squyres looks forward to a promising finish to her athletic career with UC Davis next fall.