Amanda Watkins, junior middle blocker, is prepared to make big contributions for Texas State this season.
Watkins was redshirted last year after transferring from Arizona Western in 2012. She was the first Arizona Western player to be named an All-American since 2007 and led her team to a Region I Championship. Amanda’s mother, Marian, always knew she would compete at a high level.
“She started playing volleyball in the third grade,” Marian said. “I always felt she was a Division I player. She has always been very athletic, and she’s always worked very hard.”
Amanda played high school volleyball at Gabrielino High School in California. Her high school was in a smaller division, so Amanda turned to club sports in order to find another level of competition.
“Club sports showed me that you have to work hard at anything you do,” Amanda said. “I really learned how to play against Division I opponents in club sports, and that has helped prepare me for what I’ll be facing this season.”
Amanda used that experience from club sports at the junior college level. She tallied 126 blocks and 170 kills and was named to consecutive All-Conference and All-Region teams during two seasons at Arizona Western.
Amanda anchors the defense while adding a consistent striking presence for the offense. Amanda says that chemistry is at a positive level right now for the upcoming season.
“Chemistry is really good,” Amanda said. “We need to win games for each other. I feel like if we just stay together as a team and want every game, we’ll do fine.”
Amanda began setting goals at the start of every season when she played club volleyball, and she plans to continue doing that as a Bobcat.
“I’m always trying to get better,” Amanda said. “I need to improve on blocking and continue to be vocal. It’s easy to get better here at Texas State because everyone is there for each other. This is exactly how a Division I program should be.”
Even though Amanda’s family is over 1,000 miles away, her mother follows Texas State volleyball closely. Marian says everything Amanda has achieved is because of hard work.
“I’m a proud parent, and I’ve always been so proud of everything she’s accomplished,” Marian said. “She’s worked very hard for everything, and her dedication is what has taken her to Division I volleyball.”
Amanda loves how friendly people are in Texas, and she says her favorite thing about Texas State is the river. One thing she misses about California is the consistent weather, but she says she is starting to get used to the ups and downs of Texas weather.
Although Amanda is enjoying her experiences as a Bobcat, only one thing is on her mind as the season approaches.
“I’m just looking to go all-out against every team,” Amanda said. “As a team, we just want to win every game on the schedule. We want to win that championship. We have the advantage because the Sun Belt Tournament is at Texas State, so we have to stay focused and win games."
Follow Derrick Holland on Twitter: @DHOLLAND23