Spartans of UD - Taylor Sperfslage
Spartans of UD highlights what makes the University of Dubuque special - the people.
Taylor Sperfslage, of Ackley, Iowa, is a junior chemistry major. She is an outside hitter on the women's volleyball team and is involved in a variety of activities on campus.
How did you get into volleyball?
"My mom and aunt played volleyball in college. They are both role models in my life, so I wanted to follow in their footsteps. When I was growing up, my parents and I would play volleyball in the backyard together. I remember watching a replay of the beach volleyball Olympic final where Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings won the gold in the pouring rain, and I was hooked. I begged my mom to sign me up for all the camps in the area and let me play for a club. Volleyball has been my favorite sport ever since."
What life lessons have you learned from your time with the Spartans women's volleyball team?
"Women, especially within a team, tend to have a reputation for gossip, pettiness, and drama. Playing volleyball at UD has taught me the power that women supporting women can have. The women on the volleyball team genuinely love and support each other. Everyone has a voice and is respected as equal members of the team. This creates a very unique team dynamic. We are able to compete against each other and fight for positions, while still celebrating each other and wanting to see each other succeed. This allows us to push each other's limits and constantly grow in a healthy way. This makes the wins on and off the court so much sweeter."
What has been the highlight of your college volleyball career so far?
"The highlight of my college volleyball career so far was visiting Portugal and Spain as a team. We played three matches, met new people, tried new food, explored castles, plazas, and new cities, and spent lots of time in planes and trains. Exploring Europe with my best friends and getting to play the game we love is an experience I will never forget."
As a student-athlete, how do you balance academics, athletics, and campus activities?
"I do my best to be productive during my free time, studying during breaks between classes and on bus rides. I also try to view volleyball as my escape from all my classwork. When I arrive at practice or at a game, I try to let my day go and be present for my teammates. This allows volleyball to be stress relieving instead of stress inducing. Attending campus activities helps me build community and relationships with people outside of the volleyball team. If school, volleyball, and other campus involvement ever gets too stressful, I communicate with my coaches and professors so they know where I'm at and what I'm struggling with."
In your opinion, what makes the University of Dubuque unique?
"The University of Dubuque is unique because professors and coaches provide opportunities and work individually with students so they can grow and succeed. Professors at UD genuinely care about students' wellbeing and success inside and outside of the classroom, as well as on and off the court."