Nov. 29, 2013
Samantha Peters had the chance to play volleyball at Colorado State, but turned down a scholarship opportunity, choosing instead to play at Santa Clara University. She spent one year with the Broncos, saying she wanted to try something different and experience the California atmosphere and volleyball reputation. Less than a year later, though, she was ready to come home, back to her home state of Colorado, and pursue a volleyball career at Colorado State.
“Academics-wise it was a good fit,” Peters said of Santa Clara, “but being out there didn’t seem right. I missed Colorado too much.”
She considered giving up the game of volleyball to concentrate solely on her business degree. Shortly after, though, she realized volleyball was too important for her to just stop playing. So she contacted the same coach she had previously turned down and asked for a second chance.
For the next three years, she was a non-scholarship player for a Colorado State program which won Mountain West titles and advanced to the NCAA tournament each year. She redshirted her first year in Fort Collins before playing a limited role the next two.
“She was stuck behind two great players at her position,” Head Coach Tom Hilbert said. “She could have started for several quality programs, but she wanted to be at CSU.”
Peters says she learned under Brieon Paige and Megan Plourde, an AVCA All-Region and All-America selection, respectively. But when her senior season came around, she was ready to take control.
“It was tough not playing my first few years, but I understood how great the players ahead of me were,” she said. “I had my chance at CSU, and I knew that I originally gave up that opportunity.”
This 2013 season was tabbed as a ‘rebuilding year’ both internally and externally, but Peters, now on scholarship, knew she didn’t want that to be her lasting memory.
“I definitely didn’t want to use a year rebuilding, because I don’t get next year,” she said. “I didn’t have time to waste.”
So Peters stepped up on the court, taking care of her hampering back injury and putting herself in the best physical condition she’s ever been in. She took leadership of the Rams, saying that being a senior has allowed her to not just lead on the court, but also in the classroom and in life.
Peters didn’t want her last year – and only year starting – to be a rebuilding year, and she’s done everything in her control to make sure that didn’t happen. She leads the Mountain West with a .410 hitting percentage, and is first in blocks, with 1.49 per set. She’s the only player in the entire country to average both of those figures. As a team, the Rams are ranked No. 9 nationally and are rewriting the history books, setting new records for wins to start a season, consecutive victories, and with a win tonight, best overall winning percentage to a season.
“When this last offseason came around, there was a change in her,” Hilbert said. “Her time had come.
“You wonder how a player will respond in those situations. She wasn’t selfish, she didn’t feel sorry for herself, she didn’t think she deserved anything . . . she just went and took it. She became the player we needed on this team, and that’s commendable. A lot of athletes wouldn’t have responded that way.”
Peters may have had just one full season on the court with the Rams, but she’s made the most of it. And when it’s all said and done, what will she remember about her time at CSU?
“Hopefully I’ll look back and remember us winning a title,” Peters said with a smile. “But the biggest thing is the friendships I’ve made and learning to be not just a good volleyball player, but a quality person. That’s something this program really instills in you. You’re not just an athlete, you’re a student-athlete and a member of the community. I’ll remember everything CSU has given to me.”
Colorado State will honor its three seniors – Cayla Broadwater, 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: Broadwater
Senior Salute: Smith