BYU women’s volleyball player Hannah Robison recently returned home from serving a mission in Philadelphia and rejoined the volleyball team for the fall season.
“I had been thinking about a mission for a long time,” Robison said. “It just felt right and it felt good at that time, but it was kind of a spontaneous final decision.”
Robison, the only returned missionary on her team, joined the volleyball team in 2011. Her older sister had played volleyball at Utah Valley University, and she wanted to follow in her footsteps. She played at BYU from 2011-2014, but redshirted her sophomore year, which meant she had one more year of eligibility.
Robison originally did not plan to rejoin the team after her mission, but during her 18 months in Philadelphia the thought of playing another year just wouldn’t subside.
“It was about four months before I came home, and I thought I might as well shoot (head coach) Heather (Olmstead) an e-mail and ask her for the opportunity to (rejoin the team). She said I could come and try, but there was no guarantee,” Robison said.
After spending 18 months immersed in life as a missionary, Robison came home and tried to rejoin the team. Her love for volleyball hadn’t dwindled, but it took time to readjust to the intensity of being a college athlete.
“That first day was very overwhelming mentally,” Robison said. “Then the next two weeks there’s a lot of grinding physically.”
Almost a month into the season, Robison said she feels back to normal. Even though it took a lot of hard work to get where she is now, Robison said the support she received from her teammates got her through it.
“I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by a lot of people who are encouraging me, and the team has been very uplifting and motivating,” Robison said.
Robison’s teammates said they are happy to have her back. Senior Amy Boswell said it was fun to be playing with Robison again.
“Hannah is an amazing person,” Boswell said. “She is one of the most hard working people you’ll ever meet. She’s hilarious; we love having her back.”
When asked if there was anything different about having a returned missionary on the team, Olmstead jokingly said they jump five inches lower.
“She’s doing all she can to get back those volleyball touches, she hasn’t touched a ball in 18 months,” Olmstead said. “She’s working on jumping, doing what she can to get some extra reps there to see if she can help us out in the front row, but she’s doing a great job in the back row.”
Robison says there are several things she learned from her mission that now help her in volleyball. Working hard, getting over errors and cultivating a desire to always get better are among the most important.
The senior isn’t worried about personal accomplishments. Rather, she just wants to see the team be successful together.
“(I just want to) work hard,” Robison said. “Work to get better and help those around me. I’m not striving to be anything specific, just to be the best I can be to help the team.”
Robison has played in every set of the 2016 season and has picked up 60 digs as a back row defensive player for BYU.