Junior transfer Reece Carman has made an early impact on the Idaho volleyball team this season. Idaho head coach Debbie Buchanan said her presence has been quite the boost for the team.
Carman said it was the coaching staff and overall atmosphere that led to her decision to transfer to Idaho. Compared to her freshman year at Boise State, she said the experience has been a more welcoming.
“The fans are out of this world, and the band is great. Everyone here is so much friendlier. It actually feels like a community,” Carman said.
Moscow is only a couple hours away from Carman’s home town of Walla Walla, Washington. She said the convenience of being so close to home influenced her decision to become a Vandal.
“I love being this close to home. It’s awesome,” Carman said.
Carman said it was in middle school when she picked up volleyball. Despite getting involved later than most girls, she said it was never a deterrence.
This is Carman’s first eligible season to compete as a Vandal, since she had to sit out all of last season after transferring from Boise State.
There are a few ways Carman has impacted the team since arriving in Moscow, she said. She swings high, never gets in her head and manages her emotions well. Carman said her demeanor can bring out the life in her teammates.
“I think I do a pretty good job of getting the team hyped,” she said.
When she isn’t providing the hype, she’s certainly providing Idaho with offensive production. The 99 kills she has tallied over the season is the third most for the Vandals so far.
Idaho head coach Debbie Buchanan said the success Carman’s had up to this point with the team has been anything but unexpected. She said she knew Carman was capable of this kind of performance before her time at Idaho began.
“We knew of her. She had success at Boise State, and we knew she could come in and help,” Buchanan said. “She has been a treat. She always has a smile on her face. She works hard, and is extremely open to new things.”
Being open to new things is one reason Carman is a versatile athlete. It is one of the best aspects to her game, and Buchanan said she only sees improvement.
“She’s only going to keep getting better. She’s hitting the ball so high, because she is so long,” Buchanan said.
Carman stands tall. The roster has her listed at 6 feet 4 inches, which gives her a certain advantage that is tough for opposing teams to defend.
Not only does Carman’s frame give her an immediate edge at the net, but her ability to work into both the middle and right side has made her more of an asset to the Vandals’ rotation, Buchanan said.
“She cross trains, so she’s able to do both. With some of our lineups and rotations, we are able to mix things up,” Buchanan said.
Adapting — as she’s been doing for the team this season — is something Carman had to do when she transferred to Idaho. Buchanan said Carman was able to figure things out for herself last year.
“She sat out last year and was really able to get her foot in the door with academics and some life things as well,” Buchanan said.
There wasn’t much pressure for Carman to jump into a leadership role for the Vandals, Buchanan said, but she always says the right things and holds her teammates accountable.
“That wasn’t something that we brought her in and expected her to do right away,” she said. “But she is forming into that type of player.”
Carman’s ability to persevere and lead her teammates is representative of her upside, Buchanan said.
“It’s going to be exciting to watch how she continues to grow and really blossom as an athlete,” Buchanan said. “She still has a lot of upside.”
Zack Ozuna can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @OzunaZack21