by JASON GORDON
Anna Breyfogle is a long way from the days she was a freshman on the Hays High varsity volleyball team.
Back then, she said she felt nervous having teammates who were older and more skilled.
Today, it would be hard to find a court in the world Breyfogle couldn’t be competitive on.
The recent Baylor graduate left the Bears volleyball program as not only the top middle blocker in school history, but also one of the best ever in the Big 12 conference.
During her senior season alone, the 6-foot, 1-inch Breyfogle was named All-Big 12 for the second straight year, as well as the Big 12’s Defensive Player of the Year. She was also named honorable mention on the All-American team, a feat never before accomplished by a Baylor player.
“I was very surprised to receive some of the awards I got,” said Breyfogle, who set a school record with 620 career blocks. “I never really thought I would do as well as I ended up doing. When I first got to Baylor, I didn’t know what to expect because everyone hits the ball so much harder in college and I’m actually small for a middle blocker, but I’m proud of what I helped my team accomplish.”
Baylor steadily improved during Breyfogle’s four years at the school, culminating with a run to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament during her senior season.
The unranked Bears knocked off No. 8 UCLA at Pauley Pavilion in four sets in the round of 32 to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history.
Baylor lost in its next match against the University of California, but Breyfogle said she will never forget that exciting tournament run.
“UCLA was one of those few games an athlete has in their career where I just knew we were going to win,” she said. “We were all so relaxed before the game, with everybody joking around, and then we went out and everyone had a great warm up.
Everything went right in the match. We made history in the NCAAs. It was a great way to cap off my Baylor career.”
Breyfogle, who made the academic All-Big 12 team three times, graduated in May with a double major in psychology and sociology. She plans on pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology.
“Psychology is my passion,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to continuing my educational path.”
For now, however, those plans will be put on hold as Breyfogle will play volleyball for at least one season professionally in Europe, most likely in Spain, Germany or Switzerland. The European season lasts from September until April.
“I really don’t know a whole lot about it, other than there are some pretty good teams over there, but I have an agent who’s helping me with everything,” she said. “It sounded like an awesome chance to see a different part of the world. I’m young and I want to experience as many things and meet as many people as I can, so I figured why not seize the day. Opportunities like this don’t come around all the time.”
Despite her plans to cross the Atlantic Ocean, Breyfogle, whose siblings Helen, Paul and Sam were also sports stars for the Rebels, said Hays will always be home.
“I loved growing up here,” Breyfogle said. “Not only was it great coming from such a big family, the people at Hays High were like another family. I always felt like I had a lot of support from this community, and I know I will always feel welcome whenever I come back here.”
- Hays volleyballers begin play Aug. 9 08/3/2005
- Texas State ousts UTSA for SLC volleyball tourney title 11/30/2011
- Rebel netters garner awards 05/19/2010