When fans watch senior Whitney Santos on the volleyball court they notice her energy and effort. What they probably don’t notice is that she wears the same bow every game and that she always wears two left socks. She sits in the same seat before every game and uses the same pen to write, “Do work and win” on the bottom of her paper every single game.
But the success of Whitworth’s superstitious libero can’t only be attributed to the luck of following her rituals. It is her standout work ethic and energy that allow her to be such an important part of the volleyball team.
“Whitney is a total stud,” teammate Kristine Kardell said. “You know that she’s fast and that she’s agile. She’s going to make any play that’s possible for her to make.”
Santos started playing volleyball competitively when she was in sixth grade, and since then her passion for playing the game has continued to grow.
“Volleyball is my life. It’s my escape and I’m super-competitive,” Santos said. “Volleyball just allows me to compete and do something I love at the same time.”
This spirit she exudes is seen on and off the court and spreads to her teammates, inspiring them to follow her example.
Her competitive drive and team-first attitude have made Santos an integral part of the volleyball program. After redshirting her freshman year, Santos returned in the 2010 season and was named Second Team All-NWC as a libero.
“She motivates you to work hard because you see how hard-working she is,” Kardell said. “It’s easy to slack off when someone else is, too, but when she is constantly giving her all it makes everyone else on the court want to push themselves harder as well.”
Santos’ motivation comes from her competitive mindset and willingness to do whatever it takes to benefit the team, as well as trying to make her family proud.
Already averaging over 15 digs per game this season, Santos is looking to continue to use her strengths to have a positive impact on the team.
“I have a spark of energy,” Santos said. “I might not have the most technical or fundamentally sound fundamentals, but I bring a lot of energy and spark on the court and try to spread my energy because I have such a competitive spirit.”
Santos also brings the team together in ways not necessarily seen on the court during games, but also in ways that stand out to teammates and coaches.
"She really brings the team together with her sense of humor,” Kardell said. “She’s able to have fun on the court and brings not only her competitive athleticism but also a sense of humor. We always say ‘The happy team always wins,’ and she helps make that happen.”
Santos’ leadership comes from a love of the game and a love for her team.
“The whole is greater than the individual here and everyone on the court next to you is like your family,” Santos said. “I consider every one of my teammates as a sister and I love all of them dearly. We care so much about each other on and off the court.”
The love, dedication, effort and influence Santos brings to Whitworth volleyball will continue to play a huge role in the success the Pirates have this season.
Megan John Staff Writer
Contact Megan John at email@example.com.