Ewald signs letter of intent to West Texas A&M

Volleyball athlete to play at Division II level

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Ewald signs letter of intent to West Texas A&M

Dani Orloff

When senior Taylor Ewald signed her letter of intent to West Texas A&M University, she felt joyful and accomplished.

Ewald said she strived to reach her goal of playing volleyball in college, but she did not acknowledge the possibility until her experience at the West Texas A&M summer camp.

“(Playing volleyball in college) has been my dream since I was little, but until a year ago, I never thought it would really happen,” Ewald said. “I have worked so hard for it.”

Ewald said volleyball remains important to her.

“(I’ve been playing) since fourth grade,” Ewald said. “I am a setter. It’s the person that touches the ball second, so it is the overhead motion.”

According to varsity volleyball head coach Whitney Meierotto-Simon, Ewald increased her accuracy by adapting to different players on her team.

“The setting position is an extremely challenging position to play on the court, as you are dealing with all of the different hitters, with each hitter wanting a set to a different spot or height,” Meierotto-Simon said. “Taylor really stepped up to that challenge this season and put our hitters in good position to get kills.”

According to Ewald, she had contacted multiple schools and was able to narrow it down to West Texas A&M.

“I had about 30 schools contact me, not to play for them, but to talk and communicate. I got down to three of them that I was really interested in and it was Stevens Point in Wisconsin, Truman State in Missouri and then Texas,” Ewald said.

According to Meierotto-Simon, her experience committing to the University of Minnesota Duluth allowed her to advise Ewald in her commitment decision.

“I am always here for my players,” Meierotto-Simon said. “I encouraged Taylor to keep an open mind and told her that she deserves to check out multiple different programs to find out what volleyball program she would like to be apart of but more importantly where she wanted to go to school for the next four years.”

Meierotto-Simon said she urged Ewald to take happiness into account.

“I wanted her to know that as an athlete being recruited, she holds the power and should take her time in making this really big decision. It is most important for her to be happy,” Meierotto-Simon said. “Ultimately she made a great decision and I was really here to simply support her.”

Ewald said she plays volleyball all year and said she created relationships with her coaches over the years.

“I have had three different coaches since I have been (at the high school), but right now it is Whitney Meierotto-Simon,” Ewald said. “I play for the high school during the fall, in the summer I am doing a bunch of training, and then in the winter I play for an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team.”

Meierotto-Simon said Ewald possesses traits that contribute to her success.

“Taylor is physically gifted when it comes to volleyball, but more importantly her heart and passion for the game is what makes her excel as a player on the court,” Meierotto-Simon said. “We come across so many players who are physically gifted but lack the heart and passion. A player like Taylor has all of those qualities which is exactly why she is going to continue her volleyball career playing at a Division II school.”

Ewald said her time in Texas during the summer contributed to her decision.  

“I chose West Texas A&M because I have a really good relationship with the coaching staff and all of the girls. When I went down there for camp, they were all super nice,” Ewald said. “(The coaches) knew that I was far from home, so they made a really great place for me.”

Meierotto-Simon said Ewald’s biggest challenge displays her faith in the team’s ability to thrive.

“She had a really hard time dropping close matches or losing to teams that we know we could have beat,” Meierotto-Simon said. “I think this is a great quality that every coach wants to see in their athletes. Taylor always believed that our team could compete at the highest level, every single night.”  

Ewald said the character and knowledge of the coaches at West Texas A&M also contributed to her commitment.

“The (West Texas A&M) coaches are all super nice and they are all really educated about volleyball,” Ewald said. “They all are really caring about the girls that aren’t from Texas and are away from home.”    

According to Ewald, her most influential coach was Marc Nelson.

“(Marc Nelson) was my coach my 11’s and 12’s year and then my freshman year in high school. He just made sure I never gave up on my dreams,” Ewald said. “He always made sure I was working hard and always gave me the opportunities I needed.”

Ewald said her friends and family support her in her decision to play volleyball in college.

“My friends and family are all super excited for me,” Ewald said. “My parents are kind of sad that I am going far away, but they are excited to come down and visit.”

Meierotto-Simon said Ewald led the volleyball team throughout her high school career.

“Over the past two years, Taylor has really stepped into a leadership role for her teammates,” Meierotto Simon said. “She is very vocal and knows when she needs to bring the team together to get back on track.”

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