Photo by Andrew Brown / MTSU Sidelines
For a student athlete, it’s a big deal to be in the top 25 of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. For Middle Tennessee, one athlete had that dream come true. Volleyball player Dora Peonia ranks 20th in aces per set and 16th in total service aces in the country, cementing her place as a top player in Conference USA.
Peonia is from Castel Bolognese, Italy, and moved to the States to play at MTSU. Peonia started in 21 out of 24 games last season, and was a middle blocker before switching to outside hitter this season.
Even though it is not her original position, she is transitioning and getting accustomed into that role this season.
“I’ve been a middle blocker my entire life, but playing outside is a great change,” Peonia said. “It’s made me play six rotations, and that makes me play better.”
Junior Regan Coughlin has been around for both of Peonia’s two seasons with the Blue Raiders and can attest to her transformation into a leader.
“She’s more confident in what she does,” Coughlin said. “The moves she make are outrageous … Her serve is wicked.”
Peonia has worked everyday to improve her skills over the last few years, making this a major accomplishment for her.
“I feel that I have improved a lot, thanks to our coaches,” Peonia said. “I feel that when I serve, I have so much (confidence) that it makes me do great things.”
In the beginning of the season, head coach Chuck Crawford talked about changing the culture. So far, that has worked with the way Peonia has been playing.
“He started the whole work to improve us from the spring,” said Peonia. “He did a great job of pushing us in a healthy way.”
Peonia has been killing it so far this season and hopes to keep the ball rolling with the few games left in the volleyball season. The next game is Sunday at University of Texas-El Paso at 1 p.m.
For more MTSU Volleyball stories, follow David Janes on Twitter at @David_Janes20