Hewson reflects, ready for next step of volleyball

New England volleyball stand out Taylor Hewson will soon be leaving all her farm chores behind for her brother to do, as she will begin her college volleyball career on August 11 in Bottineau.

Taylor Hewson (L) accepts her plaque for her 1,000th Kill Achievement from Head Volleyball Coach Taylor Hafner (R)
Taylor Hewson (L) accepts her plaque for her 1,000th Kill Achievement from Head Volleyball Coach Taylor Hafner (R)

By RACHEL BOCK | Herald Reporter

New England volleyball stand out Taylor Hewson will soon be leaving all her farm chores behind for her brother to do, as she will begin her college volleyball career on August 11 in Bottineau.

For the All-State volleyball player, Hewson has been playing the sport since she has been five years old, playing with her older cousins out on the farm

“I actually loved basketball more, and then my cousins always said I know you your going to love volleyball when you are older, once I hit sixth grade (is) when we started, I loved it,” Hewson said.

When Hewson was in the sixth grade, she was the first elementary class to have a volleyball program in New England.

“We were kind of the test subjects,” Hewson said.

For Hewson, who played in a varsity game as an 8th-grader,  she started playing the front row her sophomore year, that year she received an All-District Honorable mention.

“Sophomore year she was a big stand out for us, she actually tied for the most kills as a sophomore, she had a vast improvement from the first part of that year to the end of that year, she went from averaging seven kills a game, to 12 or 13,” said New England Head Coach Taylor Hafner.

During Hewson’s junior and senior years she played all the way around and received All-Region honors her junior year, and All-Region and All-State honors her senior year. Hewson was also the team leader for the New England volleyball team in aces, kills, and the top three in digs.

In September at a volleyball tournament in Dickinson, Hewson achieved her 1,000th career kill. “I have had girls starting as an 8th-grader that don’t get 1,000 kills their whole career and she basically did it in three years, so that is really impressive,” Hafner said.

Deciding on colleges wasn’t an easy decision for Hewson, as colleges other than Bottineau showing interest in her. She asked for advice from her older cousin Shari Hewson, who also started her college volleyball career at a Junior College, before transferring to a four-year university in South Carolina.

“She said you get to start playing right away and you get used to a little faster of a game. Then you can go to a four year (college) and then you will be ready to play at that level. She really helped me in deciding on where to go,” Hewson said.

Another big influence for Hewson has been her head coach, who has coached her since her sophomore year.

“Coach Taylor, she was a great coach, she is why I am even here today, she pushed me to be my best. She helped me so much. She called coaches for me and talked to them, and she helped me with the All Star Games. She gave me a whole list of schools so I could go online, and she helped me fill out questioners for their volleyball programs,” Hewson said.

Hewson, who plans on majoring in Physical Therapy, is happy with her choice to play for Bottineau, as she fell in love with the smaller college atmosphere.

“I really love Bottineau, because I am a small town girl,” Hewson said.

Hewson who also played on the basketball team for the Lady Tigers, maintained a 3.0 GPA, and was involved in FFA, choir, and student council. She also was a religion teacher at Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church, and helped coach the fourth grade volleyball team this last spring, a team that went undefeated.

Having that early coaching experience is something Hewson hopes to be able to use in the future.

“I would love to coach some day. It kind of shows you, how much you should listen to your coach,” Hewson said.

Even though Hewson had a busy extra curricular schedule, she still made time to help her parents on the farm located about 20 miles west of New England.

While Hewson was helping her dad with chores—such as lambing and making hay—she credits that for keeping her conditioned during the off season.

“I didn’t really have to lift in the summer, like most kids,” Hewson said.

Last season the New England Tiger volleyball team ended their season with a third-place finish in the regional tournament, and even though Coach Haefner has high hopes for this season, she knows that there will be a big presence and a familiar face missing in the gym this fall.

“She is a phenomenal athlete and she just loves volleyball that is the key with her she is willing to get better every day. She pushed all the younger girls to be better, and everybody is comparing themselves to her from now on. I have some eighth graders that want to hit like Taylor did. Obliviously they all know that is a huge spot to fill, because not only was she a phenomenal hitter, she was a fantastic server, she was one of our best passers in the back row, she was the talker, she’s the leader, she’s all aspects of what we want for New England Volleyball.” Hafner said.

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