Nov. 27, 2013
Cayla Broadwater had just one season with the Colorado State women’s volleyball team. She wishes she had three more.
“It’s been an incredible senior year,” Broadwater said. “I couldn’t ask for anything better. I wish I could have played four seasons with this team.”
The senior has had a unique path to Fort Collins, but nonetheless, she says that playing for the Rams this season was one of the best decisions she’s made.
Originally from Williamsport, Md., Broadwater played three seasons of volleyball for UConn. She had success with the Huskies, spending time in the regular rotation and earning 22 starts, and once recorded 17 kills in a match. But prior to her final season, she decided she wanted to transfer.
“My parents moved out to Colorado, and I realized what a great place it was,” she said. “I wanted to be here.”
Broadwater transferred to CSU, where she joined the track & field squad without ever coming on a visit to the university. The 6-1 attacker competed in the high jump for the Rams this past spring, an event she won three Maryland state championships in throughout high school.
After one season away from volleyball, however, she decided she wanted it back.
“At heart, I’m always going to be a volleyball player,” she said. “Getting away from it made me miss it.”
She emailed Head Coach Tom Hilbert over the summer, and after meeting with him and helping out at a summer camp, Hilbert offered her a walk-on invitation to the team.
"First of all, she is a great teammate. She has made our team culture better because of her character and personality," Hilbert said.
Broadwater has played sparingly – appearing in seven matches this season – but the moment that she and fans will undoubtedly remember was when she checked in vs. Fresno State on Oct. 24. Trailing Set 3 19-11, Broadwater recorded back-to-back stuffs on the Bulldogs’ top attacker. Her performance sparked a 9-0 CSU run, giving the Rams a 20-19 lead. They would win the set, with Broadwater adding a third block assist to her stat line, and being named the player of the game following the match.
"She's a great practice player for us," Hilbert said. "She's athletic and can play a lot of positions for us in scout team, which helps our program. She's also played valuable minutes on the court, though. She played at critical times at Denver and against Fresno State, and she's played well. She's made fantastic contributions, especially for a one-year walk-on."
Away from the court, she will, without a doubt, remember the relationships.
“All of the girls welcomed me so well,” Broadwater said. “I can’t begin to express the types of relationships I’ve build with them in just one season.”
Broadwater will graduate from CSU in December with a degree in human development and family studies. She hopes to stay in Fort Collins for grad school to become a guidance counselor.
Colorado State will honor its three seniors – Broadwater, Samantha Peters and Michelle Smith – prior to Friday’s match vs. UNLV. Following the contest, the team will be presented with its fifth consecutive Mountain West championship trophy. Tickets can be purchased at the McGraw Athletic Center ticket office, over the phone at 1-800-491-RAMS and online.
Senior Salute: Smith
Senior Salute: Peters