Senior Julia Hutchison, who plays right back for the Pacific Lutheran University volleyball team, is small but fierce  both on and off the court. She has been team captain since her junior year, and her days are packed with a balance of academics, sports and other extracurriculars.

Hutchison started playing volleyball in the fifth grade after many years of participating in gymnastics. She cites her dad, who used to play volleyball, as a major influence on her decision. He also coached her when she was younger, and she mentioned how it’s “10 years later and he has probably missed a total of 10 games in my whole life.”

Deciding to play volleyball in college wasn’t even a question for Hutchison.

“I couldn’t imagine my life without having the support system found in a team,” she said.

Hutchison with her parents after the game. PHOTO COURTESY OF JULIA HUTCHISON.

In particular, she appreciates the culture of “genuine love, care and friendship” that has been cultivated in her time at PLU.

“The relationships I have made with my teammates and coaches have been the best part about PLU volleyball,” Hutchison said.

As a defensive specialist, Hutchison spends half of her time on the court and half on the sideline.

“I actually really love that I get to be a part of both the bench and the court because it’s fun to get hyped on the sidelines for my teammates, and of course it’s fun to play as well,” Hutchison said.

One of the most important lessons Hutchison has learned from volleyball is how to be less afraid of failure.

“In the past couple years, I have learned to play more fearlessly, which has made the game so much more fun,” she said. “I realize that failures are something that we can grow from, a mindset that has made a big difference for me and my overall happiness.”

Off the court, Hutchison is an English major, and she intends to pursue a Master’s degree in teaching in order to become a high school English teacher. She also has four jobs: Writing Center consultant, communications intern at the Advancement and Alumni office, WordPress mentor and an AVID tutor at Washington High School, as well as a leader of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes club.

“I personally love having busy days filled with so much purpose.” Hutchison said.

Hutchison is proud of the team’s “grit and heart,” especially when confronted with fierce competition.

“I truly couldn’t imagine my college experience without these girls,” she said. “No matter the outcome of this season, it has undoubtedly been the best year of my volleyball career.”

Lutes can watch Hutchison and the rest of the volleyball team versus Pacific University Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. or versus Willamette University Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. in Olson Auditorium.

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