COLUMBIA — Regan Peltier, a freshman outside hitter and middle blocker for the Missouri volleyball team, enters the court at Hearnes Center and sits on a black bench.
“Hey Shawn, what do think is something interesting about me that most people don’t know?” Peltier asks the team’s sports information director Shawn Davis as she adjusts her shoestrings.
Missouri (14-5, 6-3 in SEC)
at Mississippi (8-10, 2-7 in SEC)
WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Oxford, Miss.
Missouri at Auburn (13-6, 4-5 in SEC)
WHEN: 1:30 p.m.
WHERE: Auburn, Ala.
Besides hitting the same deer twice with her car during her first week on campus, what stands out about Peltier most might be her ability to play well both offensively and defensively for the Tigers.
During Sunday’s 3-0 home victory over Mississippi State, Peltier rotated through the front and back row making 10 digs and five kills on 17 swings.
Because of the loss of two starting players Sunday, the team was forced to rearrange its lineup, putting Peltier in multiple positions. Before the match, the team announced that sophomore outside hitter Taylor Simpson had left the Tigers and that sophomore defensive specialist Niki Collier is taking a personal leave for an indefinite amount of time.
“It’s definitely not easy because you have to focus on a lot of different tasks at one time,” said sophomore outside hitter, Emily Wilson, about Peltier after Sunday’s game. “But she’s doing a very good job, and it’s definitely helping us out.”
Peltier said playing multiple positions as a college volleyball player is a lot more difficult than it was in high school because the game is played at a faster speed and balls are coming a lot harder.
During high school, Peltier played all positions for Nixa and for the club volleyball team Midwest Xplosion. She was also rated as the No. 3 high school recruit for volleyball in Missouri by ESPN.
Although Peltier accomplished a lot in high school, she said there were people who doubted her abilities. Peltier recalled overhearing a coach from an opposing team saying that she was “overrated” during a game in her freshman year of high school.
“That has always been in the back of my mind pushing me to show people that I’m not overrated, and that I am a good player and I can compete,” Peltier said.
Peltier said she decided not to let the comment affect her and to use it to motivate her instead. She said she started going into practice early and mentally preparing herself to not be distracted.
Peltier also had a few run-ins with fellow Missouri teammate, sophomore defensive specialist, Jade Hayes, during her high school career. She and Hayes are both from Christian County but were rivals because Hayes played for Ozark.
“I was just talking to her the other day, and I was saying, ‘I don’t understand why we weren’t friends,’” Hayes said. “It’s cool that we’ve gotten to know each other and know who we are as people and not just players on the court as rivals.”
Peltier said she likes playing on the same side as Hayes because Hayes is an aggressive and smart back row player. Although she admires Hayes’ defensive skills, Peltier said she prefers to play offensive positions because she has more experience as a front row player.
Still, Peltier said she is eager to show her ability to rotate to different positions.
“It’s not something that I was expecting to be given the option to do this year,” Peltier said. “It’s definitely going to be a learning process.”
Supervising editor is Grant Hodder.