BY DANIELLE WHALEY
It is rare that a student athlete comes out of his or her sophomore year as a veteran leader for their specific sport.
Erica Treiber has done just that for Tennessee volleyball.
As a sophomore, Treiber was named to the AVCA Honorable Mention All-America Team, making her the 18th Volunteer to earn All-America honors. During that same season, she set career highs in kills (17), attacks (40) and digs (8). She lead the team with 21 aces and 107 blocks, while also finding her way onto SEC leaderboards with the seventh highest hitting percentage (.348) and ranking ninth in blocks per set (1.06).
Looking back at her sophomore campaign, Treiber credits her success to the lessons she learned as a freshman.
“I learned a lot from everything that the upperclassmen taught me that season,” Treiber said. “It helped me progress into my sophomore season so that when I stepped onto the floor, it really made a difference for my team and myself.”
Outside of being a leader on the court for Tennessee, Treiber is currently a part of the VOLeaders Academy, a program from the University of Tennessee that partners the athletic Department with the UT Center for Leadership and Service as well as the Center for Sport, Peace, and Society. This program allows student-athletes to learn how to have a positive influence on their teams, the campus community and the rest of the world.
“VOLeaders has been great. I’ve learned so much about leadership, myself, values and about how to carry yourself in everyday life outside of sports and into the real world,” Treiber said. “I’m really excited to share what I’ve learned in class and take it to my team and to my future career. Really seeing the progress I have made through this class has been great.”
The Unionville, Michigan, native has noticed major changes in herself in her first two seasons on Rocky Top, both on and off the court.
“Coming here, I’ve really opened up, learned a lot,” she mentioned. “On the court, (I) progressed and kind of learned the values of sport, how they teach you time management, respect, teamwork, and building with other people. I’ve learned to take that to life off the court through VOLeaders, SAAC, and everything else I’m involved with.
“It all kind of flows together and it’s cool to see it come together as I continue to progress.”
As spring conditioning continues for the volleyball team, Treiber is focused on continuing that progress and improving her blocking and defense. That same progressive mentality is seen with the rest of the team as the rest of her teammates work to get stronger, faster, and get more touches on the ball during a game. With the second half of her career as a Volunteer quickly approaching, she is excited to see what her next steps as a team leader will be.
“I think it’s great to be considered a veteran leader,” she said. “I’m excited to really lead up and down to both my seniors and underclassman and pull the whole team together using the knowledge I’ve gained from my coaches and other teammates on how to make this program a lot more successful than we already have.”
On an individual level, Treiber is looking forward to continuing her growth as a person and learning more about herself day in and day out. As for academics, she plans on graduating from Tennessee in the near future, going to graduate school and then moving on to pursue a career in the health field. As for goals she wants to achieve on the court in the orange and white, it’s simple -- to be a champion.
“I want to win a championship,” she admitted. “I’d love to see an SEC Championship and make it to the NCAA tournament.
“I don’t feel like that’s far out of reach and I really hope to get that.”