Every team has a player who’s consistently involved in making everyone around them better while excelling in their own right. For the Loyola women’s volleyball team, senior outside hitter Morgan Gresham fulfills that role.
Gresham put up solid numbers in the Ramblers’ senior night match against Bradley University on Nov. 10, tallying 19 kills and 22 digs in the 3-2 loss.
Senior night was the final home match of Gresham’s career at Loyola, which she said was one of the most important matches on the schedule for her.
“It was senior night, so it was a big night for me, personally, just as my last game in Gentile and it was a really important game for us,” Gresham said. “I knew I needed to step up and [I] was trying to do everything I can to put my team in the best position to win and so it was nice to kind of go out on a high note in Gentile.”
Gresham, 22, has been playing volleyball since she was nine years old. She said her family is a big reason why she’s played volleyball throughout her life.
“My mom is probably the reason that I play. She played in college; she actually played at Missouri State,” Gresham said. “My sister played, and my parents are just my biggest supporters and my grandma is absolutely my number one fan.”
Gresham added her grandma constantly critiques all her matches and she does her best to make her satisfied with her play.
“She texts me after every game,” Gresham said. “[She] tells me what I did well and what I need to do better. She hates service errors, so [there’s] no missing serves for grandma, but [the texts] just mean the world to me and … they’re such a big part of my experience.”
Senior libero Alex Nunez said it was great to see her close friend and roommate have such a solid final match in Gentile.
“Our last game [in Gentile] was probably her best game, which is awesome for her being a senior,” Nunez said. “I think her hard work kind of showed that game because she just showed resilience and brought lots of energy to the court and helped the team a lot.”
Head coach Amanda Berkley said a reason for Gresham’s success is her ability to lead the play at different positions across the court for the Ramblers.
“I think her biggest impact has just been being a leader,” Berkley said. “I think she’s a six-rotation player so it’s really great to have her be out on the court for the most of the season and just bringing a competitive spirit for sure.”
That competitive spirit is not just felt by Berkley. Nunez said Gresham provides the team a necessary attitude that helps them stay focused and on the right track to win.
“I think she’s really honest with herself,” Nunez said. “If we need to address a problem or something on the team, she’s always someone that will say what needs to be said for the team. As far as playing, I think she can be [honest] with herself and know if she’s having a like a bad passing day she’s gonna help out a different area let’s say like hitting or like being really positive or like talking [to us] a lot.”
Gresham, a marketing major, said learning the balance between academics and athletics was difficult for her.
“It’s obviously gotten easier over the four years,” Gresham said. “It was a lot as a [first-year], just kind of coming in and hitting the ground running with [the] season being in the fall but I think we have a lot of great resources around [Loyola].
Now that the season is over, Gresham said it was bittersweet as she wrapped up her career at Loyola.
“It was a little bit sad,” Gresham said. “This has been home for four years and it’s weird knowing that was our last game here and so it was weird but it was also really cool and a great ending [since] my family was here.”