The decision to come to LSU was easy for senior middle blocker Olivia Beyer.
The Michigan native fell in love with the LSU community immediately following her arrival in Baton Rouge her freshman year.
Beyer admits not knowing much about LSU when first looking at colleges. She visited many colleges on her way down, but once she stepped foot on the LSU campus, she knew she was home.
“I just fell in love with the campus,” Beyer said. “I really connected well with the girls and the coaches, so [coach Fran Flory] was a huge reason why I came here in the first place. I absolutely loved how much she cared about the girls, how it’s so much more than just a sport. Once I got done with my visit I told my parents, ‘Mom and dad, I'm going to LSU.’”
Beyer started in 22 of her freshman games, totaling 46 kills with a 0.70 kills per set average. In her first game as a Tiger, she led the team with four blocks. She continued to progress during her sophomore season, starting in 17 games and totaling over 100 kills. Junior year, she started in all of the games as middle blocker. She also passed the 200 mark of kills and ended with a 0.301 hitting average.
“I just think back to freshman year and I didn’t even know how to play volleyball,” Beyer said. “I don’t even know how that happened honestly. Each year there’s been so much growth, and I feel like each year, especially offensively, I feel like every year before I had no idea what I was doing, so it’s been fun to get to senior year.”
This season, Beyer tallied 167 kills, averaging 1.78 per set. She sits at third on the team with 71 blocks this season. She picked up a season-high six blocks on two occasions against Texas State and Georgia, while also recording a career-high of a .500 hitting percentage at Georgia on Sept 21. Recently, she was awarded the Google Cloud Academic All-District Team honors for her 4.1 GPA, the highest on the team.
However good her stats are, Beyer decided not to worry about them and just focused on having fun during her final year as a Tiger.
“It’s funny because Fran always talks about the process each player goes through, and it just fits so perfectly,” Beyer said. “Senior year it’s like this is fun and easy and we’re just playing volleyball. Honestly, I think it’s been cool that I haven’t been as concerned. That hasn’t been my main focus of how I perform. I’ve been having more fun than I’ve ever had in a season and I think I've understood the game more than I ever had.”
Her senior season wasn’t exactly what Beyer or anyone else on the team had hoped for. The team ended 12-17 overall and 7-11 in conference play.
Though the season was tough and the team was plagued by inconsistency on the court, Beyer only had positive notes and focused on supporting her team through the work they’ve put out this season.
“As a team, we have just made leaps and bounds and have gotten further than I’ve ever felt before,” Beyer said. “For some reason, it took us a while to figure it out, but as a team I think we’re playing so well and so balanced. We have a balance offensive and it's never really been that way with my experience here. We finally reached that and it’s been the coolest thing.”
As the season comes to a close, Beyer, like many seniors, can’t comprehend it. After playing volleyball for so many years, it’s a part of her life that she’ll truly miss. However, she is excited for what the future holds, even if it’s a surprise.
“It hasn't hit me yet,” Beyer said. “I’ve been playing indoor for so long and something I've always done ever since I was a little kid was kind of wanting the next thing. When I was junior I wanted to be a senior, and now that I’m a senior I don’t know what I want.”
Beyer said she was going to miss a lot about LSU volleyball including the normal things like her teammates, the games, the coaches and LSU as a whole, but oddly enough she said the thing she would miss the most were practices.
“The hard, sweaty, brutal practices that last like three and a half hours. Where you don’t stop sweating because those are the ones that you go into it and you dread it, but then you leave, and it’s like you’ve gotten better as a person, as a player [and] you’ve gotten closer with your teammates. Those are the days I’m gonna miss.”
“Side note — I’m gonna miss our sing-offs and dance parties.”