Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Women’s Volleyball: Texas athletes reconnect in Boca

This season, the Owls have four players from different parts of Texas.
Erika Fletcher
Ava Camacho, Madison Dyer, Alicia Hearn, and Lauryn Green discuss their time in Texas and what made them join FAU.

This season, four players on the FAU Women’s Volleyball team are all from different parts of Texas. Each knew one another, whether from being teammates in high school, in club sports or as rivals.

“I honestly wanted to stay in Texas. I committed early to UTSA, and after transferring from UTSA, I knew what I wanted in a school and teammates. I didn’t want to travel. I knew FAU was the right school,” said sophomore libero Ava Camacho. 

Over the years, FAU has had its eyes on recruiting players from Texas. This year, they have made some moves that brought together four players who lived just a few hours away from each other, and ended up here at FAU.

“We have a lot of connections with the clubs in Texas. We go two or three times a year to watch girls from Texas. We love recruiting out of the state of Texas,” said FAU volleyball head coach Fernanda Nelson. 

Not being shy about the passion of recruiting talent from Texas, FAU has been recruiting there for 12 years. Hitting the moneyball, Coach Nelson was able to get four players who were, at one point, teammates and rivals to bring their talents to FAU. 

“I knew I didn’t want to go to school in Texas. I’m a people person. I wanted to expand, so coming to FAU was one of the farther schools out of my options, and I love the beach,” said senior middle blocker Alicia Hearn. 

Hearn is the longest-tenured Owl of the four Texas players. Hearn already knew the type of school she wanted to go to; it was up to her recruitment process which the Owls excelled at. 

“FAU was one of the last to start recruiting me, but they applied the most pressure. They were at everything at every single game across the country. Just sitting next to the court like I see you, and you see me, it made me feel special, made me feel wanted,” said Hearn. 

The Owls’ culture touched these players’ hearts during the recruitment process, which sparked their interest even more to be a part of it. Having a special connection with this team has made it easier for Hearn throughout her years on the volleyball team.

“Three weeks of me being in the portal, FAU reached out to me. The way they would talk to me and when I went on the visit to the school, the community and culture got to me,” said sophomore middle blocker Madison Dyer. 

After having a good year at Sam Houston State University, Dyer wanted to achieve more play in a more significant conference. After seeing the American Athletic Conference badge, she wanted out of the Western Athletic Conference. With Dyer not being the last transfer that the Owls managed to bring in, the Owls made a move on one more Texas star. 

“I committed to Tulane then entered the transfer portal. I talked to Coach Nelson in one phone call. She actually wanted to get to know me as a person and not a player. Most coaches don’t do that. She cares about us mentally and physically all day long,” said graduate middle blocker Lauryn Green. 

After having a good freshman year at Tulane University, Green had a stress fracture in her sophomore year, which led to her not playing and ultimately transferring. 

“When I came back from injury, I didn’t mind riding the bench, but not being given the opportunity to compete for a spot against someone you are better than, it sucks. It wasn’t the same,” said Green.

Each player talked about the culture and community of FAU that stood out to them. That’s a sign that Coach Nelson is doing to keep this volleyball team as one.

“The players have improved a lot since their time in Texas, especially Hearn, she’s a senior. For me, it’s been incredible to see how she improved not just with volleyball but as a person. It’s been amazing seeing the growth with the addition of Camacho and Green to see the growth of how we work as a person and culture. It’s incredible to be working with them,” said Coach Nelson. 

With the improvement of the players and the addition of Dyer, who is also learning the culture of FAU, these girls are in for a bright future, hoping to have the chemistry they had at the clubs they played for.

“I think they were friends in the past, and their chemistry will come. That’s another reason we recruit from Texas. A lot of players go back home and talk about our culture, area, and the university. I think they get excited to come to FAU,” said Nelson. 

With the help of current and former players, FAU recruitment in Texas seems like it will be around for a while. Going 12 years strong, Coach Nelson plans to continue to bring in talent out of Texas.

The Florida Atlantic women’s volleyball team is well into their season in the American Athletic Conference, finishing multiple Invitationals and Classics. Now, they are about to start conference play.

Chris Smith is a Staff Writer for the University Press. Email [email protected], DM via Twitter @chris_smith_35 or Instagram @Chris_smith_4 for information regarding this or other stories.

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Erika Fletcher
Erika Fletcher, Lead Photographer
Erika is a senior majoring in multimedia studies with a minor in photography. She loves shooting sports and street photography and in her free time, she enjoys drawing, skateboarding, playing soccer, listening to music, and being with her friends and family. She joined the UP on a whim to make new friends and to get better at photography. In her time here, while not long, she's made connections and learned so much about herself already and can't wait to continue her journey with such great people.

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