The honors keep rolling in for Laurens product Anna Stevenson, whose collegiate volleyball career at Louisville has garnered her the attention of USA Volleyball.
This week, Stevenson is in Anaheim, California, at USA Volleyball’s training center among 29 collegiate players training as part of the Collegiate National Team.
“I think it’s just a bunch of practices, but I’m still excited,” Stevenson said, adding that under normal circustances the Colleguate National Team would travel for intrasquad matches, but COVID-19 has temporarily halted those activities.
Stevenson also earned all-ACC and second-team All-American honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association this past season with the Cardinals.
This past season, Stevenson was an all-around weapon for Louisville. She played in every set, recording 145 kills with 10 aces, 26 digs and 79 blocks while hitting .406. She was ranked tenth in the nation in hitting percentage and 34th in blocks.
“When I was in middle school and high school, I would see those videos of girls getting their All-American rank,” Stevenson said. “I was like, ‘Dang, that’s what I got this year.'”
At one point, Stevenson thought her college career would be over this past season, but the NCAA granted an extra year of eligibility to athletes due to COVID-19. She will play her final season at Louisville this fall and graduate in December.
She said she is excited about returning for one more go around with the Cardinals have two straight Sweet 16 appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
“I have never been on a team that feels closer, and I can’t imagine turning down an opportunity just like be on this team for another season because I know that even if you play after college, it’s not the same as having your college team,” she said.
“It’s just really special. . . . I think in everyone’s minds, we feel like we can get to a Final Four, so that’s our goal.”
Stevenson said after several years of sustained success, the Cardinals feel that they belong in the conversation with the top teams in Division I.
After spending a few weeks at home in Laurens with family, resting and reading the Harry Potter series, Stevenson returned to Louisville before heading to Anaheim in early June.
This fall, Stevenson and the Cardinals are hoping to recapture a little magic of their own when they return to the court in front of capacity crowds for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.
“I think we’re at full capacity for sporting events,” she said. “I was kind of weird playing this past year with nobody in the stands. My first season (at Louisville) it was packed all the time, and it was the most amount of people I’d ever played in front of, so I was kind of used to it. This year, it was empty, and I was like, ‘OK. I’ve played in empty arenas before.’ But I definitely missed the crowds.”