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Recording kills and taking names

Submitted by Greg Garcia on October 18, 2012 – 1:59 pmNo Comment

In sports, the cliché “sophomore slump” gets tossed around a lot after a player exceeds expectations in their first year, only to see their performance regress in their second season.

For sophomore volleyball player Edina Begic, the aforementioned does not apply.

Begic is currently putting together a magical season, the likes of which has never been seen before in UALR volleyball history.

Begic came into the 2012 season fresh off a stellar freshman campaign where she was named the 2011 Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year. In addition, she was also a second team All-Sun Belt honoree and was named to the All-Tournament team at both the Memphis and New Mexico State Invitationals.

Begic started in all 110 sets last year and in that time led the team in kills with 432 and finished second in digs with 287. What she did in her freshman year, most players dream of doing throughout their entire career.

No way to top that, right?

Wrong.

Through twenty games, Begic has all eyes on her as opponents attempt to game plan on how to slow her down. As head volleyball coach Van Compton said, “they know Edina is our go-to player.”

Compton is aware that teams have a target on Begic’s back and that can sometimes come with a bit of anxiety.

“I think that she understands some of the pressure is on her,” Compton said. “It’s hard to deliver night after night after night.”

So with teams and players around the conference centering  attention on Begic and pressure mounting, the logical conclusion would be that Begic’s performance would slow down a little in her sophomore season, right?

Wrong again.

Begic is on a torrid pace yet again this year, dominating competition, and racking up accolade after accolade.

This season Begic has been named to the preseason All-Sun Belt team, was awarded the Sun Belt Conference’s Player of the Week twice, and as of Oct. 13,  was leading the nation, that’s right, the nation in kills and points.

Even more impressive though, is the way Begic is handling all the success and attention. Too much success can sometimes go to a player’s head as they get wrapped up in the limelight.

Again, the aforementioned does not apply for Begic.

“She is so unselfish, no ego at all,” Compton said. “She is very humble.”

When asked if she keeps up with her own stats to see how she stacks up with the best volleyball players in the country, Begic grinned and admitted she does a little.

However, the difference with Begic is that when she looks at those stats, it’s not to stroke her own ego.  It’s for something much bigger.

“America is a huge country and I come from a very small country,” Begic said. “When you come here and you lead the nation, it’s a really great feeling. I want to lead the nation for my university, coaches, and teammates.”

A native of Bosnia, Begic is about 5,486 miles from home, but that hasn’t kept her family from watching their sophomore superstar on the court. Begic said her family watches every single game online and is aware of how well she is doing.

“I am in touch with them every single day,” Begic said. “We talk through Skype. They are happy for my team that we are doing good. My family really supports me.”

The mature 6’ 2’’ outside hitter has also been named the captain of volleyball team and garners tremendous respect from her teammates.

“When I go to the court, I always want to give 110 percent,” Begic said. “I always want to give my best to not make many errors, to help my team and my teammates.”

Begic’s success has been contagious as the Trojans are atop the west division of the Sun Belt conference. Good players are notorious for not only their great play, but also making their teammates better. This year, Begic is doing exactly that.

Despite being picked to finish third in the division, the Trojans have quietly been the surprise of the conference.

“I credit this group of girls with the success of our team. They’ve been really bonded as a team real well,” Compton said. “They worked extremely hard to overcome some adversities and injuries.”

With the regular season winding down and the conference tournament on the horizon, Compton remains optimistic, but still knows her team has to remain focused and play point-by-point.

“If we can continue to do what we’ve done up until this point, we have a shot at winning our side,” Compton said.

 

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