An Unexpected Honor

By Torri Henry

I was on the bus, just peacefully snoozing away deep in my dreams.

We were heading to the conference tournament, and I was in that blissful state of half-awake, half-asleep.

And then, out of nowhere, I woke up to a flurry of messages on my phone.

Confused, I start scrolling through them and see a common theme: congratulations.

I’m like, “Wait, what’s going on?”

Then, one of my teammates looked at me and said, “Congratulations! You’re the CAA Setter of the Year!”

And I’m still half-asleep, trying to process the information.

It took a moment for it to sink in, but when it did, I was filled with gratitude and excitement.

I mean, it’s a huge honor to be recognized like that, especially in a conference as competitive as the CAA.

But let me backtrack a bit first.

Falling in love with volleyball

It all started back in second grade.

I was already involved in basketball, track, and gymnastics, but when I saw that my school had a volleyball team, I thought, “Why not?”

I joined the team a grade later, mostly because my friends were doing it, and I love sports.

Little did I know that this would be the beginning of my love affair with volleyball.

As the years went by, my passion for the sport grew.

In middle school, I joined a club team called KC Power, which was known for producing talented collegiate volleyball players.

It was there that I truly fell in love with the sport and dedicated myself to it.

During my sophomore year of high school, I started to reach out to coaches, send emails, and dive head-first into the recruiting process.

Finding a home at Stony Brook

My story at Stony Brook all started with a phone call.

One of the assistant coaches at Stony Brook reached out to my club team, asking about potential setters.

My club coach recommended me, even though I was primarily playing as a DS libero at the time.

But then, something unexpected happened.

Our team’s setter got injured, and I was asked to step in.

I hadn’t been training as a setter, but I gave it my all, and the coaches liked what they saw, I guess.

Crazy how life works sometimes, isn’t it?

But that’s how I eventually ended up at Stony Brook.

When I visited the school, I could tell right away that the coaches genuinely cared about their players’ well-being, not just as athletes but as people.

They emphasized the importance of building a strong and supportive community. It was clear to me that this was a coaching staff I wanted to be a part of.

It took a moment for it to sink in, but when it did, I was filled with gratitude and excitement. I mean, it's a huge honor to be recognized like that, especially in a conference as competitive as the CAA.

Making an impact 

Being a student-athlete isn’t just about playing your sport.

It’s about being involved in the community and making a difference.

And I’ve taken that to heart.

First, there’s the Black Student-Athlete Huddle, where I serve as the vice president. This group brings together black student-athletes at Stony Brook to discuss important topics. We have educational sessions, meet-and-greets with faculty and staff, and just create a sense of community.

I’m also part of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), where we organize drives and events to give back to the community. From toy drives to food drives, we strive to make a positive impact both on and off the court. We even made stuffed animal bears and blankets to donate to a local shelter called Bears and Sunshine.

But my involvement doesn’t stop there.

I’m also part of the Academy of Leaders, where we focus on developing leadership skills within our teams. And recently, I joined the Intercollegiate Athletic Board, where I represent the student-athletes and work towards improving the overall student-athlete experience at Stony Brook.

It’s always been important to me to be more than ‘just’ an athlete.

And I believe the environment and opportunities at Stony Brook are perfect for me to fulfill that.

Looking ahead

As I enter my final year of eligibility, I have high hopes for the rest of the season.

I want to continue to grow as a player and help my team achieve even greater success.

After my time as a collegiate volleyball comes to a close, I plan to attend law school and become a sports attorney or agent.

It’s a path that combines my love for sports and my interest in the legal field.

But who knows, maybe coaching will be in the cards for me, too.

Whatever path I choose, I know that the lessons I’ve learned on and off the court will continue to guide me.

More Stories

Copyright © 2024 Stony Brook Athletics

Powered by