Skyler Johnson, Kara Smith, and Meredith Stinnette

Eastern Mennonite University women’s volleyball is going for the kill. This past week they won a significant match against Emory & Henry, a win that could be important as the women try to qualify for postseason play for the first time since 2007. They also earned a come-from-behind victory over North Carolina Wesleyan on Friday.

Senior Skyler Johnson played an important role in those wins. Johnson, a libero, contributed 29 digs in the four-set match against Emory & Henry, a season best that she has since surpassed. Earlier this week in a match against Virginia Wesleyan, she racked up a career best 36 digs.

Johnson felt very proud of her team following the win at Emory & Henry. “Each player really stepped up and played their position well,” she said. “Throughout the game everyone maintained a relaxed demeanor, which really helped us and our ability to remain calm throughout each set. Everyone was confident with one another and gave it their all.”

Coach Carrie Bert felt the same way. “It’s a pleasure working with this team and I’m grateful they are receiving some recognition,” she said. “Skyler is a true utility player. As a junior, we moved her to the libero position, keeping her on the court more consistently and allowing her to lead the defense. She has continued as the libero as a senior and is a true menace to our opposition.”

Earlier this season, Johnson became the 11th EMU volleyball player in program history to have 1,000 career digs. In Wednesday’s match against Virginia Wesleyan, she moved into sixth place in EMU Career Digs, taking 1,144 digs into this weekend’s trip to Lancaster, Pa.

Coach Bert said Johnson’s willingness to play in the back row only exemplifies her selfless attitude.

“I’m certain that Skyler prefers swinging out of the front row,” said Coach Bert, “but she always puts the team first and is starting to understand her invaluable play as our libero. Skyler, with a deep desire to keep getting better, is a great example to our team.”

Johnson is grateful for her years of collegiate play.

“I have really grown mentally in the game of volleyball,” she said. “Additionally, I feel as though being a student athlete has helped with my time management and has taught me how to work better with others. It provides me with connections that I would not have had otherwise.”

Volleyball has been a part of Johnson’s life for a long time.

“I started [playing volleyball] my 8th grade year, in middle school,” she said. “I wanted to start something different since I had only ever played softball. I fell in love with it after that.”

Over the summer, Johnson played doubles grass league so she could come into her senior season ready for her best year yet.

“I think grass league helped me to really grow my mental game,” Johnson said. “I was able to better read the ball and become a faster player.”

Johnson is a biology major with a minor in psychology. “After graduation, I plan on moving to South Carolina with my family and eventually attend graduate school,” Johnson said.

Johnson likes to spend her free time with the important people in her life.

“I enjoy spending time with my family,” she said. “I love hiking, laughing, and relaxing with my roommates.”

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