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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Outside hitter’s work ethic is one of her defining traits

Ella Holmstrom goes up for a kill in Marquette volleyball’s win over Illinois State Sept. 18. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Since she was eight years old, Marquette volleyball first-year outside hitter Ella Holmstrom learned how to work hard from her father, Benjamin, who played Division I college basketball at Illinois State University.

Holmstrom said that it’s a defining trait of who she is today.

“I’ve always been the type of person, whether it was in high school or club (volleyball), to go for extra reps with the coach if there’s something I need to work on, stay up late doing my homework, getting everything done that I need to do because to me my hard work is only going to help me in my success,” Holmstrom said.

Learning that type of work ethic helped propel her to be a four-year varsity starter at Guilford High School in Rockford, Illinois, where she earned an All-State Honorable Mention her senior year. Holmstrom also was named to the Ultra Ankle Junior Volleyball Association All-National Team with her club team, VC United, her senior year.

Holmstrom said that the competitive environment with VC United helped her prepare for the college ranks after she de-committed from Indiana University and signed on with Marquette last year.

“I wanted to play for a really competitive team, the education was huge for me as well. When I decided to de-commit from that other school (Indiana) I talked with my club coaches and he (Eric Schulze) directed me towards Marquette and coach (Ryan) Theis,” Holmstrom said. “I came on a visit and I absolutely loved it, (I) love everything Marquette volleyball is all about.”

Holmstrom isn’t the only VC United player on the Golden Eagles, as first-year middle blocker Morgan Daugherty had committed to Marquette a year prior to meeting Holmstrom.

The two of them became roommates heading into their first year as college teammates. Daugherty said that being roommates has helped each other adjust to being at college.

“Moving in the summer and having to adjust to that really quickly is really hard, especially (when) girls are older than you,” Daugherty said. “It’s one thing when you join a new club team and have girls that are the same age as you, but (in college) everyone is older than you and has done this before and you have no idea what’s happening. To have had a year to get to know her (Holmstrom) was really nice.”

Once the two got into the gym together, Daugherty said she has only seen Holmstrom’s work ethic continue to evolve.

“Anytime she would make a mistake in club it wouldn’t get her down, she knows that doesn’t matter (and that) the next point is what matters,” Daugherty said. “She doesn’t let anything detract from the work she has done.”

Marquette assistant coach Abby Gilleand said she has seen that type of effort day in and day out from Holmstrom in practice and embrace the challenges that come with it.

“She comes in with a new mindset every day of Hey I’m going to embrace it, it’s going to be uncomfortable and I understand that every day isn’t going to be pretty but I’m just going to put my nose down and work hard,'” Gilleand said. “I can’t think of a day that’s she’s really come in and been like ‘Man she’s just not giving her (full) effort.'”

Holmstrom said that she is the type of person who enjoys putting in hard work everyday.

“Some people may step back if it seems really hard but I’m kind of the person to jump in even harder when something’s hard, and I need to put in extra work because that’s what I feel like is going to make me the most successful (I can be),” Holmstrom said.

With all of that in mind, Gilleand said she wasn’t surprised when Holmstrom had a career day Sept. 6 against Loyola University Chicago as she racked up 17 kills, four block assists and two assists in a 3-1 victory for Marquette.

“We don’t doubt that she could do that, I don’t think we would say we were surprised, we see a lot of that every day in practice. She’s scoring quick off the floor, fast arm, she’s grown a lot in her decision-making process,” Gilleand said.

Holmstrom said that she didn’t know until after the game that she had put up the number of kills she did.

“When the game ended everyone was like ‘Ella, you had 17 kills!’ and I was like ‘What?'” Holmstrom said. “I was just out there trying to help my team win a game, try and do the role as best as I can that I was given for that match. I was just really focused on that.”

She said that game helped her calm down and fit in with the rest of the team.

“It kind of let me settle in and be like ‘I can do this, I’m in the right place,'” Holmstrom said. “When I get put into a game now the nerves are completely gone, I feel very comfortable with my team and playing next to every single girl, whether it’s a girl on the bench or a girl that’s on the court all the time, I feel very comfortable next to everybody.”

Currently, Holmstrom sits seventh on the team in kills with 46, good for an average of 1.05 kills per set.

With four years ahead of her, Holmstrom said she has goals that she wants to accomplish. Goals that she has had ever since she first touched a volleyball.

“I came to Marquette wanting to experience competing for a conference championship, going to the NCAA tournament,” Holmstrom said. “I feel by the end of my career I know that I will feel fulfilled on my decision that I made and that I made the right decision because I will get to experience all the things that I have wanted since I started playing volleyball.”

This story was written by Jackson Gross. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JacksonGrossMU.

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