Yarotsky leads Sam Houston State to 3-1 in conference, remains confident in team during final season at SHSU

Sam Houston State senior outside hitter Cynthia Yarotsky netted Southland Conference Volleyball “Offensive Player of the Week” honors for the week of Sept 24 after guiding the Bearkats to a 3-1 record.

In those four matches, Yarotsky accounted for 87 of the team’s 256 points.

In the Bearkats’ five-game victory over Central Arkansas on September 21st, Yarotsky’s 31 kills and 30 digs put her in elite standing in the Sam Houston record books. The 31 kills is the highest tally by a Bearkat since the 2002 season and is in the top five in kill totals ever for an SHSU player in a Southland Conference match. In Southland play, Yarotsky’s 30 kills ranks ninth highest all-time by a Bearkat.

“Cynthia is doing such a great job of providing our young team leadership this year,” head coach Brenda Gray said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen one of our players take over a match the way she did with us down two games to one in that fourth game. She is a competitor with a will to win that is contagious, she has a great passion for the game.”

One of Yarotsky’s greatest strengths is that she has been a true iron woman on the court for her team. There is often no better way to lead then by example, and that is evident in Yarotsky as the senior outside hitter has played in all 86 matches the last three years, not including the 57 she has played in this year. Yarotsky is also the only senior on the team this year, and she credits her teammates for helping her transition into the role of a team leader.

“I have teammates that want to follow and work hard,” Yarotsky said. “It makes being a leader easy. It makes me want to work hard for them.”

Yarotsky will graduate in May, and with no more plans to play volleyball after the season is over, her focus will shift to her career. As a health major and business minor, she said she hopes to get an internship as a health educator and promoter.

Yet despite Yarotsky’s personal success, last season was a tough year for Bearkat volleyball. The team amassed a 10-16 record and ended the season 5-11 in conference play. Yarotsky said that in the spring, the team had a meeting after the season ended. The team did well in spring tournaments against the same teams that had beaten them in the fall.

Outside of volleyball, Yarotsky cherishes the relationships that she has with her teammates and she said they are what has made her time at SHSU so rewarding. According to Yarotsky, she and her teammates have developed a sisterly relationship as they spend a lot of time together not only on the court, but off it as well.

Yarotsky also said she has a special relationship with Gray, who recently nabbed her 500th career victory and is now in her 23rd year as head coach at SHSU.

“I love coach [Gray],” Yarotsky said. “I am out there to win for her and my teammates.”

The Lady Bearkats’ next two games will be on the road Wednesday against Texas State-San Marcos and next Saturday against Texas Arlington. Their next home game will be Friday October 12th against SFA.

As far as predictions go for the rest of the season, Yarotsky is remaining optimistic as the Bearkats get deeper into conference play.

“I will do whatever I can to help the team win,” Yarotsky said. “Being the underdog is cool.”

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