Savana Trahan found herself scrolling through her sixth-grade yearbook last week, taking a closer look at a future goal she had written for herself.
“I want to be a professional volleyball player.”
She’s never abandoned that dream, even when others scoffed. She heard the naysayers. “Sure, you might have the skills to excel at volleyball,” they told her. “But you’re simply too short to play the sport at its highest level.”
Trahan ignored the remarks, always giving the same answer.
“I am going to go play Division-I.”
“It was frustrating — I can’t help (my height), you know what I mean?” said Trahan, whose height is listed at 5 feet, 2 inches. “It made me want to work harder and push myself more to become a D-I player.”
She’s certainly pushed herself during her high-school career. In the fall, she has been Tivy’s starting libero. In the winter, she traveled to San Antonio three times a week to play for the Alamo Volleyball Association, one of the best select travel teams in the surrounding area. And in the summer, she was on the sand courts practicing beach volleyball. When she wasn’t playing volleyball, she was improving her conditioning through CrossFit. In the process, she earned the reputation as a fierce competitor, always doing everything in her power to keep the ball in play.
All her hard work paid off. This summer, she attended a UTEP volleyball camp, spending a few days with the Miners’ coaches and players. On the last day of camp, UTEP head coach Ben Wallis offered her a scholarship. After spending a week praying over the upcoming decision at a Younglife camp, Trahan had made up her mind: She was going to be a Miner. The news would have
made sixth-grade Savana happy.
“It’s so awesome. I am really close to fulfilling my dream,” Trahan said during Tivy’s practice on Wednesday. “I just can’t wait to go UTEP. I love the coaches and love all the girls.”
At the moment, though, Trahan is savoring the final season of her Tivy career. It’s been a massively successful career — she started on Tivy’s varsity team as a freshman; she made the all-state team as a sophomore and was selected to play in Class 5A/6A all-star game as a junior — but it’s also been a somewhat turbulent career as well, containing highs and lows. As a sophomore, she was a key contributor to one of the best teams in Tivy history. She anchored the Lady Antlers’ backline, while senior outside hitters, Kathryn Stieler and Brooke Scheidle, overwhelmed opponents with their attacks. It was a formula that propelled the Lady Antlers to their first appearance in the regional finals since 1978.
But Trahan began encountering some obstacles after that. Stieler and Scheidle both graduated, and then head coach Jason Roemer informed the team that spring he was leaving to become the coach at Lake Dallas. In other words, Trahan was going to experience a rebuilding year as a junior.
“My sophomore year was the perfect season,” Trahan said. “Last year was a little harder.”
Still, she and then-senior Ava Wampler helped lead the Lady Antlers to a second-straight playoff appearance in 2018. But Trahan received another setback this spring, when Roemer’s successor, Katrina English, left the program in the middle of the off-season. Once again, she was going to enter her senior year with a new coach. She was also going to have only three teammates (junior Keirson Jalowy, senior Paige Melcher and sophomore Ally Scheidle) with any varsity experience.
She remained optimistic during the situation. While Tivy athletic director David Jones was conducting another coaching search, she was organizing team drills during the Lady Antlers’ athletic periods.
She gave Jalowy, tips on how to improve her swing, telling her friend to “Swing with a purpose.” During Tivy’s five-set, season-opening win over Fredericksburg on Aug. 6, Jalowy led the Lady Antlers in kills (16) and has continued to play at a high level during the early stages of this season. She admitted on Wednesday that Trahan helped inspire her newfound confidence on the court.
“I used to just swing and hope the ball went on to the court,” Jalowy said. Now, I swing, and hopefully, put the ball where it’s supposed to be.
“Savana has been amazing as a leader. She has just directed us everywhere we go. She’s always there trying to help everyone, including all of the younger girls. She is just encouraging everyone on the team.”
Trahan is currently having a blast with her teammates, and loves playing for first-year coach Stephanie Coates. She’s hoping to conclude her time at Tivy on a high note (so far, the Lady Antlers are 7-4 entering the Boerne Greyhound Tournament). With so many first-year varsity players, she knows the Lady Antlers are going to experience some growing pains this season. But she also wants her teammates to realize that it’s OK to set high expectations for themselves, no matter what others say. After all, she overcame obstacles through hard work; she’s hoping she and her teammates can do the same this season.
“She knows it’s a process and that it takes time, but she’s also helping (her teammates) with their competitive spirit,” Coates said. “I appreciate her maturity in her game, understanding that she has a lot of teammates without a lot of varsity experience, but who have a lot of potential.
“If we can be patient, work hard and just learn how to overcome and persevere, we are going to be better every single day. Hopefully, we will be ready for district when it gets here.”