Athlete of the Week: UAA Volleyball legend Eve Stephens
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Eve Stephens is now an alumna of the University of Alaska Anchorage and a former star for the Seawolves volleyball team, but added to her long list of personal accolades by becoming the first UAA volleyball player to be named First Team Academic All-American.
Stephens — or “Alaska Girl” as her teammates call her on the court — was born and raised in Palmer and attended Colony High School. Stephens starred for the Knights in high school, but even she didn’t expect to become this successful at the collegiate level.
“When I was a kid I really didn’t have high expectations for myself here,” Stephens said. “Really to have playing time is all that I wanted. I’ve never played six rotations, so I was like if I just get to hit I am fine, that is all I need, but come to show that I grew over those four years and with coach (Chris) Green behind me, every year it was just more potential and more opportunities and I never imagined it would have ended like this,” Stephens said.
To say that she had a great career would be an understatement. According to UAA Athletics, Stephens ends her career as the GNAC and UAA all-time leader in points (2,292.5) and kills (1,926), while also placing top-five on UAA’s career lists for points per set (1st, 4.69), kills per set (2nd, 3.94), attack percentage (5th, .296), aces (3rd, 152), block assists (3rd, 361), sets played (4th, 489), matches played (4th, 132) and victories (5th, 99).
Stephens continued to break long-standing UAA volleyball records throughout her storied career. However, no single individual accolade means as much to her as taking home the 2022 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championship with the help of her teammates in her final season.
“Personally it’s not a record but the one that means the most was winning the GNAC conference championship,” Stephens said. ”Winning that championship was just an end all to how many years I have put in here and winning it with my team, that was the most important thing.”
Her career will go down in the history books, and most of the records set by Stephens will be incredibly difficult to break. However, Stephens wants her legacy at UAA to mean something more, noting that she hopes her success will show other young volleyball players in Alaska that they don’t have to leave the state to become an elite player on the collegiate level.
“I just don’t want people to feel like Anchorage is the last option because it definitely was my first option,” Stephens said.
Stephens is now taking a step back from volleyball but when you are as good at the sport as she is, coming back to the sport is never out of the question.
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