Paige Wilson has her eyes set on several St. John Fisher volleyball records. Photo courtesy of St. John Fisher athletics.
Three years ago, Paige Wilson walked on to the St. John Fisher volleyball team hoping to just make the squad.
Now, she enters her senior season hoping to make history and leave her mark at St. John Fisher.
Wilson, a Springville resident, begins her final year of volleyball at Fisher with preseason practice starting up. She went from walking on to the team as a freshman to becoming a four-year starter for the Cardinals.
“Because it’s my last year, I have a lot of goals in mind,” Wilson said. “I hope I can reach those. I’m really excited, just excited to get together with the team and meet the new players.
“We lost some really good players from last year, but I think we have the players to fill their shoes. I definitely think it’s going to be a good season for us.”
One of Wilson’s goals in mind is to finish in the top ten in program history in blocks. She has 245 career blocks and is coming off a career year as a junior in which she had career-highs in kills (211) and blocks (101). If Wilson stays on pace, she’ll finish sixth all-time in blocks in Fisher history and can finish as high as second all-time.
“Since volleyball ended last fall, I’ve really worked on my agility and my speed, along with my jumps ” Wilson said. “I’ve done a lot of work with plyo’s to get my vertical up to help with my blocking and hitting. I really hope that helps.”
Wilson was a standout in high school and was twice named a first team ECIC III All-Star. Her numbers have steadily increased since her freshman season and the improvement is due to the amount of time she’s spent on the court.
“With the amount of volleyball you play, it’s kind of hard not to improve,” Wilson said. “In high school, volleyball lasts for a couple months with one practice a day. In college, you play more volleyball in three weeks than you do in two months in high school school. You’re constantly practicing or playing games.”
Now Wilson will look to become the team’s leading hitter after the graduation of Rachel Kline. Kline led the team with 349 kills last season and ranks ninth in Fisher history with 1,049 kills. Wilson will be looking to fill Kline’s void this season.
“My goal is to step right into her shoes and take that lead role,” Wilson said. “I led in blocks last season and my goal is to get on the career list for blocks -- right now, I’m right on pace. I definitely want to work on getting my numbers up for my kills, too.”
The Cardinals have four returning starters back from last season and even with the experience coming back, the team is still fairly young with just six seniors and 11 underclassman returning.
“I think the youth on the team will almost help us,” Wilson said. “We’re going to have a lot of people fighting for each other’s position, so that competitiveness will be high in practice and hopefully it can translate over into games. We’re going to have very competitive practices if everyone is fighting for a starting position. That’s only going to make us better.”
The Cardinals finished in fifth place in the Empire 8 conference, one spot away from qualifying for the playoffs. To improve on the team’s 14-18 record, Wilson noted it starts with their mindset and work ethic in preseason.
“The difference won’t be just the way that we play this season, it’s the mindset we have going into it, “Wilson said. “A lot of the time last season, I felt like we were defeated before we actually faced a team. Everyone says it comes down to who works harder in the preseason. Whoever works harder in the preseason, gets farther in the postseason.”
Along with playing volleyball at Fisher, Wilson is a track and field standout. Last season, Wilson was an Empire 8 conference champion in both the shot put (12.55m) and the javelin throw (30.78m).