It only took Skylar Iott one match to secure a starting position on the women’s volleyball team.
The freshman outside hitter has proven dominant on the court, taking on a significant role with the Colonials since the preseason, when injuries left holes in the team’s starting lineup.
“Preseason was hectic for us,” Iott said. “We had to step into new roles that some of us hadn’t been in yet. It was all about overcoming adversity.”
Iott had the chance to prove herself when she started at the Cavalier Classic Aug. 26: She led the Colonials with 22 total kills in matches against Northwestern University and the University of Virginia.
“Being in the starting lineup was probably one of the best feelings I have ever experienced being a freshman,” Iott said.
Since her debut set, Iott has since racked up 25 kills against Seton Hall for a career best and currently boasts 137 cumulative kills.
The Ida, Mich., native has appeared in 44 sets and started 12 of the 13 matches she’s played, averaging 3.35 points a set — trailing only star senior middle blocker Chidima Osuchukwu.
It would be easy to feel intimidated by the expectations placed on her so early in her collegiate career, but Iott feeds off the pressure, she said.
“I am someone you can put in any position and I’m going to absolutely try my hardest and do my best for the good of the team,” Iott said. “No matter what, I am going to succeed. I am not going to shy away from challenges.”
Iott’s tenacious spirit and impressive play earned her Atlantic 10 Co-Rookie of the Week for games played between Aug. 29 and Sept. 4. But Iott said she still isn’t satisfied.
“It was nice to be rewarded for all the work I put in during the preseason, but it is not going to stop there, Iott said. “I was talking to my dad and he said, ‘Now you have to win it by yourself, no “co” attached,’ and that is a great mindset to have.”
Iott only recently switched to the outside hitter position, after playing as a middle blocker until her senior year of high school.
The Colonials picked up Iott last spring after an outstanding high school career at St. Mary’s Catholic Central, where she led her team to consecutive Michigan Class C Championship appearances.
Most volleyball players are recruited their junior year of high school but despite her late recruitment, head coach Amanda Ault said she recognized Iott’s potential.
“Really early in preseason, the three of us (coaches) all looked at each other and said we are really, really glad we were able to pick her up,” Ault said. “To be able to find her and pick her up as late as we did was such a blessing.”
Like most freshman players, Iott went through a transition during the preseason — something that comes with learning a new, faster style of play, Ault said.
“One day you could see it in her face that it just changed,” Ault said. “She got more comfortable, her feet got underneath her again and she really started going after it.”
With a dream of becoming an All-American athlete, Iott said she has big goals for herself and for the Colonials’ program. With a team goal of winning the A-10 tournament, Iott has already set her sights set on NCAA tournament.
“We are going to do some great things in the next few years…I want to get to a place where we are unstoppable, and people are scared to play (against) GW volleyball,” Iott said.