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She’s a hit

G. Sean Kelly
Post Indepenednt Photo/Kara K. Pearson MAIN PHOTO
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Former Glenwood Springs volleyball standout Amber Sutherland has gained some perspective after her freshman season at the Division I college level.

“Nothing comes easy and you have to continue working hard for everything,” said Sutherland, a member of the University of Colorado team, when asked what advice she would give to up-and-coming volleyball players. “You have to keep working for everything even if you think you’re ahead, because if you stop, someone is going to pass you.”No one would accuse Sutherland of not being a hard worker during her time as a member of the Demons squad. She played volleyball year-round and still had time to play on the Glenwood basketball team and win a Class 4A state discus title as a freshman. She did her time in the weight room and on the court, and was rewarded with an all-state selection by the Rocky Mountain News and a volleyball scholarship to play for the Buffaloes.Still, she never had a ton of competition for her starting outside hitter position with the Demons.

But things ratchet up a notch at the college level.”As far as (comparing college volleyball to) the Glenwood Springs area, it was definitely a higher level,” Sutherland said. “Everybody is at your level and above. Nobody was not experienced.”It sounds logical – most of the girls on the CU roster are on scholarship, so one would hope they can play the game. Still, for any star athlete, the move from the smaller pool of high school athletes to the sea of elite college athletes is always more dramatic than expected.

“When I first came in it was rough,” Sutherland said. “Being a freshman, I didn’t know what to expect. But I got comfortable with the girls on the team, and we got really close. Playing with them was so much fun. It was just a higher level.”Basically it was the whole freshman thing – pay your dues and learn the system.”And, by the looks of things, Sutherland has already started getting paid back for her work.

After getting off to a slow start, in part due to an ankle injury, Sutherland saw her playing time increase throughout the season for the Buffs, who finished 14-14. In the first round of the NCAA Tournament against then-No. 2 Hawaii, Sutherland played in all four games of the 3-1 loss. She had five kills and nine digs in the contest.Now that the freshman season is under her belt, Sutherland is looking forward to and setting goals for next season.”Next year I’m looking forward to fighting for a starting position,” she said. “I’m hitting the weights hard right now, working out, constantly staying in shape and playing volleyball.””Next year I’m looking forward to fighting for a starting position,” she said. “I’m hitting the weights hard right now, working out, constantly staying in shape and playing volleyball.”


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