Taylor Gillie walked into Pritchard Gym after volleyball practice with a knee brace on. “It’s preventative,” she explained.
What was it preventing? Perhaps an injury similar to the one she suffered in her sophomore year, forcing her to sit for half the season and come off the bench for the rest of it.
When asked about it, Gillie said, “They needed me, so I came in just to do my job.”
That sentiment of “just doing my job,” has described Gillie’s career up to this point. Never too flashy. Just trying to help the team.
Gillie started playing volleyball in the sixth grade and ascended the ranks, becoming one of the more high sought after recruits in the volleyball circuit.
She chose to go to Stony Brook and that was that.
It was time for her to do her job. She was a standout freshman and in her junior year, she was second on the team in blocks per set with .78.
It was no surprise that she was named as one of the team captains in her senior year.
“I’m not the vocal leader, but I’ll work hard and talk people through if they need help,” Gillie said. “That’s what they wanted as a captain. I lead by example.”
Gillie’s work as a leader by example shows day in and day out, just look at her filled statistics line at the end of any game.
“You get your stats because of the rest of the team,” she said, “When I play well, the team plays well and when the team plays well, I play well.”
Gillie attributes that team-first mentality to Seawolves Head Coach Coley Pawlikowski and assistant coach Dan Pawlikowski.
She also attributes that mentality to the team.
“We all try to work for each other and work for the player next to us, because that’s when we play our best,” she said, when asked about how the team motivates her.
Her belief in the team is there, saying “we are definitely more prepared than years before.”
When asked about the team’s recent slide, Gillie said, “We’re trying to find our groove again. We just had a little slip in mentality and confidence. This week we’ve been working through that. I think we’re heading in the right direction.”
To Gillie, the team always come first, which is one of the reasons why she plays so hard.
The coaches “know that I’m not coming off the floor,” she said, adding, “I’m going to work hard no matter what.”
Gillie is a team captain. She does not play for just herself. Her team comes first, and she is exemplified that belief time and time again.
Whether it is coming off the bench and providing that spark or being the last one of the court at the end of the day, her hard work and dedication pays off and rubs off on her teammates.
That drive is what really sparked the longest win streak the volleyball team has had since 2009-2010.
Gillie’s strength is in the blocks, and she has led her team once again. He has 92 total blocks on the season, with 88 of them being assisted and four being solo efforts.
The total blocks are good for the first on the team, while her four solos are tied for Seawolves team-high.
She also averages 2.53 points per set.
When it comes to leaders, you do not need to be vocal, you just need to set an example for your team like Gillie.