When Elizabeth Serra-Hsu arrived at CSM as a freshman in 2007 the women’s volleyball team struggled to a tough 11-20 record. Four years later, Serra-Hsu and her teammates have climbed back into the competition and brought respect back to collegiate volleyball in Golden. And on Tuesday, Serra-Hsu made her own personal mark in CSM volleyball history. With 13 kills against UC-Colorado Springs, she broke the all-time career kills record of 1433, a 13 year-old record set by standout athlete Jaime Henderson in 1997. Serra-Hsu currently has 238 kills on the season and has helped to lead the Orediggers to a 17-7 record with two regular season games left. Mines is currently ranked 4th in the RMAC and with only two games remaining, looks poised to make a solid postseason run. They are also currently ranked 8th overall in the Central Region, on the edge of continuing on to the NCAA Central region tournament. This year, Mines has been led in part by Serra-Hsu and will look to her to help lead them to success in their final games. For her effort, and her outstanding play through four years as a Lady Oredigger, Serra-Hsu is this week’s Athlete of the Week.
[Oredigger] Did you know how close you were to breaking the career kills record?
[Serra-Hsu] During my sophomore year, I looked at the record and kind of averaged out how many I would need to get it, but it wasn’t until this year that I realized how possible it could be.
What was it like getting the kill that broke the record?
The one that tied it was kind of a miss hit actually. It just kind of bounced off [the Metro player] and went out. And after that, everyone on the team was joking, saying, “This one is going to have to be good!” But it was a great feeling. Truly indescribable, to be able to work so hard and see it pay off.
How did you begin playing volleyball?
I started to play it in the 7th grade. I actually didn’t know that it was a real sport back then. I was just playing in P.E. and my P.E. teacher told me I should try out for the team. Before I had played soccer all the time and, well, I really don’t like running and I was better at volleyball, so it just kind of stuck.
What has it been like to watch the program grow in the four years you have been here?
Looking back, it is really rewarding. To be able to look back and see all the progress we have made and see all the hard work pay off is a great feeling. In the moment, it was really tough to fight through the struggles, but afterwards, to see us come so far so quickly is really cool.
What were some of your favorite volleyball memories?
For college, it was last year, on a Saturday night and we were waiting for the regional rankings to come out to see if we made the top eight. And as soon as coach tested us saying we got in, we went crazy. It was great, that feeling of having everything you worked for come through for you. In high school, I remember a teammate and I had a competition to see how many girls on the other team we could hit in the face. Looking back on it, it was kind of terrible, but it was entertaining (smiles).
With such a busy schedule, how do you stay focused?
(Laughs) Do I stay focused? I don’t know. I just get into a daily routine, going to class, going to practice, doing homework… You just try to make the most of it. But volleyball helps to. When I go to the gym, I say to myself, “this is what I love doing.”
How are you preparing for these last few games?
For myself, I just have the mentality that if I don’t do it now, I won’t ever be able to. And I try to let me team realize that same idea and get us to play in the moment.
What is some advice you would give to young student athletes?
Don’t take any day for granted. You got to stay on top of everything, every day. If you take a day off, you will fall behind and it is so hard to catch up.