Halle Julian earned an extend role in her freshman season at Eastern Nazarene College.
Coming into the season, Whitman native Halle Julian had two ways to measure success in her freshman campaign on the Eastern Nazarene College women’s volleyball team: individual improvement and team accomplishment. She can check off both of those boxes.
“It was just an awesome experience and I couldn’t have imagined a better freshman year,” she said.
The 2018 W-H grad made an impact immediately for Eastern Nazarene, which advanced all the way to the New England Collegiate Championship this season, where it fell to South Vermont, 3-1. The Lions’ final record was 20-7, a significant improvement over their 11-19 campaign in 2017.
In her first season with the Lions, Julian, a middle hitter, saw action in 79 of the squad’s 93 sets; she ranked second on the team in blocks per set (0.51) and third both in kills (111) and hitting percentage (.257).
“For a freshman to come in and put up those kind of numbers in the first year of being a college player is pretty good,” said Eastern Nazarene women’s volleyball head coach Derek Schmitt.
Schmitt said Julian’s consistency on the court is why she saw significant playing time as a freshman.
“She had some pretty good offensive numbers in matches,” he said. “I thought she was consistent in her play and you could just count on her every night to go out there and be out there doing whatever it took to win. Try and score some points for us offensively and work hard for us blocking.”
Schmitt said he was surprised Julian cracked the learning curve that comes with being a freshman so quickly to make an impact right away.
“She was able to handle the change because the college game is definitelyfaster,” Schmitt said. “She was able to adapt quicker than I thought she would. I think she picked up on things quickerthan a lot of freshman would have.”
Julian credited her time playing for former W-H girls’ volleyball head coach Josh Gray as having a major impact on her.
“He taught me how to play the game I do today,” Julian, the Panthers’ all-time blocks leader on record, said.
Julian’s best match statistically this season came Oct. 11 against Gordon College; she registered a career-best 11 kills and swatted seven blocks.
“She really just developed as a middle blocker and as far as being able to handle the pace of the game and being able and being quicker to the outside to block the pin hitters and to be able to get better offensively and get better timing,” Schmitt said. “The good thing is she’s already got that 6-foot-2 frame, that’s not going to change.”
Julian said she’s already been in the gym as she strives to make an even larger impact for the Lions next fall.
“My goal is to improve my blocking because with this speed, you got to get out to block super fast and it’s hard to press over sometimes, but I definitely want to get better at my blocking,” she said. “I’ll use this season at motivation.”