Athlete of the Week: Sierra Tyson ’23

Sierra Tyson is a first year from San Francisco, California. Tyson is a setter on the women’s volleyball team and has played a large role in the team’s success this season. Tyson was integral in the Garnet’s 3-0 sweep of Muhlenberg last Wednesday, recording eight digs, 23 assists, and four kills. 

Joe Barile: What made you choose Swarthmore above any other schools you were considering for volleyball / academics?

Sierra Tyson: I chose Swarthmore due to the small seminar-style classes, ability to make close connections with professors, externship and study abroad opportunities, the combination of liberal arts and engineering, and the diverse student body who actually wants to make a difference in the world. In addition, the unique balance of D3 athletics and academics would allow me to pursue my passion for volleyball, which I have been playing for seven years, and participate in other meaningful extracurriculars.

JB: How has the transition from high school volleyball to collegiate volleyball been?

ST: The pace for collegiate volleyball is definitely a lot faster than high school volleyball, so it took some time for me to adjust to this change in pace. Also, it took a lot of time to learn all the different plays and understand how each hitter likes to be set. All the girls on the team have a strong dedication to improve as players and have pushed me to become a better setter. I am very appreciative of our team dynamic, because we do everything we can to support each other while at the same time keeping each other accountable in order to accomplish our team goals.

JB: As a first-year student playing a considerable amount on a college team, is there any added pressure to perform well?

ST: On the court, every player is equal and expected to contribute to the success of the team. As a setter, I have the responsibility of running the offense by calling plays and setting up the hitter in the optimal place for them to score a point. There is pressure for me to perform well, because if I don’t do my job well on the court then the hitters won’t be able to do their job well. I handle this pressure by practicing mental toughness and talking to my coaches and teammates.

JB: What members of the team have helped you and your fellow first-year students adapt to the college game?

 ST: Everyone on the team has done such an amazing job at helping us first years acclimate to college volleyball, and I feel extremely lucky to have such caring and supportive teammates. On our team, we have a buddy system called APs where younger players are paired up with older players. This system allows you to have someone to go to when you need help with something or just want to talk in general. Mehra [den Braven ’20], a senior outside hitter, is my AP and has been a huge support system for me this season.

JB: How have you found balancing volleyball and schoolwork so far?

ST: I feel like I have done a pretty good job at balancing volleyball and schoolwork so far. This first semester being pass-fail has definitely made balancing everything a lot easier and given me room to adjust to college life. My professors have helped me tremendously in navigating volleyball and school conflicts and given me resources to succeed in class. In addition, I can always go to my teammates when I need help with a certain class or figuring out how to manage my time.

Joseph Barile

Joe '21 is from River Vale, NJ. Besides writing for the sports section of the Phoenix, he plays on the Swarthmore Men’s Soccer team and works in admissions as a tour guide.

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