Gaby Zovko has won Northeast (NEC)/Molten Rookie of the Week Award nine times this season. Zovko, a freshman on the women’s volleyball team from Bedford, Ma., has put on a campaign through this season.
The Pioneers split their games against Saint Francis University (SFU) and Le Moyne, losing to SFU and beating Le Moyne. During her award-winning week, Zovko averaged 7.17 assists, 2.00 digs, 1.33 kills, 0.67 blocks and .50 service aces. Zovko took time to reflect on her accomplishments.
“It’s very exciting. I didn’t really expect awards coming into it and getting that really lit a fire under me and helped my playing a lot,” said Zovko.
With a high level of play each week, there comes expectations. However, Zovko has a different approach to the pressure.
“I never really felt it I would just see it and then go about my business and play and focus on the game,” said Zovko.
Senior Dominique Felix, a former NEC Rookie of the Year, has been in Gaby’s shoes before her and knows what it takes to be successful in the league.
“I think Gaby’s just physical; I think when we go out on the court, we know that Gaby’s going to perform and it’s just a great thing to know as a team that she’s going to help us. She’s had a big role on the team just coming in and I was in her shoes my freshman year. And as a setter she’s had big shoes to fill but she’s done a great job,” said Felix.
Felix, a key member of the roster and a senior leader, expressed the team’s feelings for Zovko and her accomplishments.
“She’s like our quarterback, we need her to give 100% all the time and she’s done a great job stepping in and filling those shoes and I think the whole team appreciates her presence,” said Felix
In addition to the talent on the roster surrounding Zovko, she also has a very experienced coach in Rob Machan. Machan took over Sacred Heart’s volleyball program in 2007 and has a career record of 260-169. He has seen plenty of talent come through his programs. Machan spoke about how Zovko is different.
“She’s shown dramatic improvement, this one wants to get better every day, she listens, she wants to learn, she’s working hard. And again, there’s a lot of responsibility in the position and we couldn’t be more pleased with the progress she’s made,” said Machan.
In addition to the progress Machan has seen, he believes Zovko’s willingness to learn and work hard is important to her success.
“I think she’s probably beyond my advice, I don’t know if we’ve had many star freshmen come in with the accolades she’s receiving and receive them in a more humble way. In a way that, like Dom said, you don’t know it have the time, you don’t see it, there’s no change in her demeanor. She doesn’t walk around like she’s done anything; she knows it’s a team award,” said Machan.
Sacred Heart will play Long Island University in the NEC semifinal on Friday, Nov. 17 at the William H. Pitt Center at 7 p.m.
Sacred Heart Athletics contributed to this article.