Editorial Note: This article appeared as the feature story in the September edition of the CSU-Pueblo All-Sports Game Day program.
In order to compete in collegiate athletics, one must have a variety of positive characteristics in order to be successful. Dedication, strong work ethic, passion, leadership and sacrifice are just a few of those characteristics. When difficulties arise or challenges come, it is those types of attributes which push a student-athlete to persevere and overcome the obstacles. Very few student-athletes exemplify these characteristics better than Colorado State University-Pueblo volleyball player Alex Sansavera.
In 2011, Sansavera, a native of San Antonio, Texas, was recruited by ThunderWolves' new head coach Jen Gomez to help rebuild the volleyball program at CSU-Pueblo. On her first recruiting visit to the university, Sansavera fell in love with the coaching staff and the campus.
"During my visit, I loved all aspects of the school," noted Sansavera. "Coming here to CSU-Pueblo is the greatest choice I've ever made."
After redshirting in 2011, Sansavera made an immediate impact in her first season of competition during the 2012 campaign. She was one of just two players to compete in each of the team's 30 matches and 117 sets as both a defensive specialist and libero. Sansavera concluded the year with 325 digs and 53 assists to finish second and third on the team, respectively.
During the 2013 season, Sansavera was once again putting up solid numbers, when her season was cut short due to a shoulder injury which required surgery and sidelined her for the remainder of the year. The injury was a difficult pill to swallow for both Sansavera and the team.
"Injuring my shoulder was an extremely difficult experience for me," commented Sansavera. "I've never had an injury that has kept me out that long, let alone one that required surgery. It was hard because I wanted to be out on the court helping my team and not being able to do that was hard physically."
Not being able to compete with her teammates pushed Sansavera to return to the court as soon as she could. Her love and passion for the game and for her team drove her to remain dedicated in her rehab workouts and sessions with the trainers.
"I did whatever I could to get back on the court as soon as possible," mentioned Sansavera.
Her hard work and dedication paid off as she was able to recover from her surgery faster than the doctors expected.
Despite missing the remainder of the 2013 season, Sansavera was able to learn and grow by studying the game from the bench, helping prepare her for this season. The lone member of Gomez's inaugural recruiting class, Sansavera, was voted a team captain by her teammates for the 2014 season.
"Alex knows what this program is about and what we as coaches are about," said Gomez. "She's been here from the very beginning of the building stages. She knows where we started and where we're trying to get to. Her leadership has developed so much due to her experiences of sitting her first year, seeing playing time the next couple of years and then getting hurt. It's been really fun to see her take on more of a leadership role and share her experiences with the younger players."
Sansavera hopes her experiences, both the negative and positive ones, will help her be a leader on the team this season.
"Some of my advice to the younger players on the team is that there will always be good days and bad days, but you always have to continue to work hard and buy into what the coaches are teaching," noted Sansavera. "The confidence and the skill will come you just have to soak it all in and continue to put in the effort."
It's that same confidence and hard work that has pushed Sansavera through the challenges that she has faced and has prepared to have a solid season in 2014.
# CSU-Pueblo #
As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics.