Athlete of the Week: Eckerman 'kills' it on the court
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Haley Eckerman is the best player on one of the best teams in the nation, but if you ask her to talk about her dominance on the volleyball court, it's clear she's as humble as she is talented.
"The biggest thing is to just help my teammates out -- do what I need to do to be a leader on the court, or just to help them out and play my game," Eckerman said.
She may not talk much about her game but the ladies who share the court with her gladly will.
"She's just really smart on the court. Everything she does, she does it with a purpose, and I think that's how she executes, and that's how she gets points. She just sees the court really well," Longhorn Middle Blocker Molly McCage said.
Eckerman’s vision and a handful of other strengths allow the sophomore to accomplish a great deal on the 40 Acres.
Prior to Saturday's match at Texas Tech, Eckerman led this year's Longhorns in kills in all matches except two, and last year as a freshman, she was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year as well as National Freshman of the Year.
"Watching Haley develop has been fun. We're very pleased with where she's at, we know that she's not even close to where she can be, and she's dedicated and working hard to get to that point," Longhorns Head Coach Jerritt Elliott said.
What's most remarkable about the Iowa native is her impressive success on the volleyball court comes while juggling more responsibilities than the average college athlete.
Eckerman has a 2-year-old son named Cayden. They both live with her mom and her sister in Austin. Having three jobs, student, athlete and mom, keeps her busy from sun up to sun down.
"I'm kind of a student first, and then volleyball player, and then by the time I get home its mommy-time,” she said.
“She has basically an all-day job doing all these different things and it's just amazing how she gets through it every day," Longhorns Libero Sarah Palmer said.
Eckerman says having her family in town helps keep her going. Then again, so does her burnt orange family.
"I just love the environment here. I love the fans playing here, the teammates -- it just feels like a family here," Eckerman said.
Eckerman and the Horns played in Lubbock over the weekend and swept the Red Raiders. She had 10 kills in the match.