Patriot League’s defending Libero of the Year Kristen Largay reflects on college career
Her high school coach weighs in on her collegiate athletic success
Junior Kristen Largay, the defending Patriot League Libero of the Year, has passed expectations, set new records and killed the competition. Largay has collected countless accolades in her nine-year volleyball career, from captaining her high school volleyball team to making her mark in conference history.
Largay’s volleyball career launched in the fifth grade in Paradise Valley, Arizona, when an older friend persuaded her to join the school team.
“I played both soccer and volleyball initially,” Largay said. “Heading into high school, though, I was leaning towards volleyball.”
Playing for the Xavier College Prep volleyball team in Phoenix, she not only led her team in digs and service reception but also won the sectional championships three years in a row as starting libero.
Largay’s coach at Xavier College Prep, Lamar-Renee Bryant, attested to Largay’s excellence in high school.
“Kristen is super confident and feisty,” Bryant said. “She has this internal confidence which is needed to play the position of libero. Kristen always sees opportunities to get better. She always strives to be the best.”
Largay eventually decided to come to American because of the great academic offerings, saying the successful volleyball program came as a plus. She joined the the volleyball team behind Hoakalei Dawson, the defending Patriot League Libero of the Year, facing great pressure from the moment she first stepped on the court.
“Of course handling [the pressure] is challenging at first, but as time goes on you get used to it,” Largay said.
Largay attributed her development over the past two seasons to the upperclassmen on the team who served as her mentors and role models.
She has not only excelled on the court but also in the classroom, earning a spot on the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll the past two years.
”Kristen does the hard work,” Bryant said. “She holds herself to a very high standard on the court and inside the classroom. Kristen is extremely gifted.”
In recollecting her most memorable moment on court with the Eagles, Largay said winning her first Patriot League championship in the fall of 2016 was a special memory.
“Nobody really expected us to win,” she said. “It was really cool being in that sort of atmosphere.”
From the Patriot League final against Colgate University in November 2016 to today, Largay has grown not only as a player but also as a leader. Her responsibilities have grown as upperclassmen graduate and new recruits join the team.
“There have been more expectations of being a leader on the team and being a mentor to the younger ones,” Largay said.
Largay displayed her leadership skills in high school when she captained her team to multiple sectional championships.
“Kristen leads by example,” Bryant said. “She always believes in her teammates. Whenever the team was down, Kristen was always up and positive.”
Over the course of the last two seasons, Largay has commanded attention for the Eagles, playing in all 34 games last season while also setting Patriot League seasonal and single game records in digs and digs per set average.
“Time goes by so fast,” Largay said, thinking back to her freshman year. “Appreciate the time you have with your teammates.”
From surpassing expectation after expectation, Largay continues to make history as the starting libero of the team. This season, she became the seventh Eagle in AU history to record over a thousand career digs.
While Largay, an accounting major, hopes to one day move into the business world, her eyes are on another Patriot League title this fall.
“You have to be that person going for every shot,” Largay said. “Everybody on the team is feeding off your energy.”