Senior adds wisdom to Cougar volleyball team
As one of only two seniors on the women’s volleyball team, middle blocker/right side Hunter Wise knows she has to make the most of her remaining time as a Cougar.
For the last three seasons, Wise has dominated the competition. Steadily improving each season, the senior accumulated 426 kills and 143 blocks in her first three years. Despite her own success, team achievement has eluded her.
Although impressive on the court now, the Fairmount, Indiana-native didn’t start playing the sport until fourth grade.
“My best friend wanted to play in a club, so I went and did it with her,” Wise said. “I loved it so I stuck with it.”
As a four-time letter winner and two-time first team All-Indiana award winner at Madison-Grant High School, Wise helped lead her team to four consecutive conference and county championships. She set two school records in matches won and blocks, while finishing second all time in kills and aces.
“About sophomore year in high school people were like, ‘you’re really tall and a good player,’ so I started writing people and they started responding and it was like, maybe this could really happen,” Wise said. “It was all very unexpected.”
Although she was just one of the few players on the team from out of state, it was Houston’s culture and opportunity that prompted her to choose UH over her other options.
“I came down here and everyone was so friendly with my family and it was a great environment to be in,” Wise said. “Houston is a great place to be — there are lots of things to do and see here.”
She started in 10 games as a true freshman in 2013. During that time, Wise was able to make the most of her opportunities, totaling 35 kills and 32 blocks. She was also named to the American Athletic Conference All-Academic team.
Wise continued her strong play into her sophomore season, improving in every statistical category and scoring then-career highs with 147 kills and 51 blocks. She started 19 of the 31 games she appeared in and was on the conference All-Academic team for the second consecutive year.
Wise’s hard work on and off the court has impressed her teammates and coaches, which is an important part of her legacy after graduation.
“I want to leave the impact of our culture and want to show the freshmen and sophomores and juniors how we do it at Houston,” Wise said.
Her work ethic paid dividends during her junior year as she again set career highs in kills (244), digs (33) and blocks (60) while starting in 23 of 29 games.
Wise said that she is never satisfied and has continued putting in the effort to improve in her final season.
“We’ve really been working on our defense and trying to get our block big, strong, and consistent,” Wise said.
This season, Wise has already tallied 40 kills and 15 blocks and is off to a strong start. Now in her last season, Wise continues to look forward although she knows that her time as a Cougar is winding down.
“My plans are to go to PTA school and get my degree,” she said.
Wherever she decides to go, Wise has made a lasting impact on UH volleyball and has been an integral part of the Cougars.
“Hunter is an extremely awesome person,” Head coach Kaddie Platt said. “She’s a great teammate and a hard worker. On the court she’s a great slide and she’s an important part of our offense.”