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For Macey Gardner, being a Sun Devil is all about relationships. “The experiences I had with teammates, coaches, and professors are what I loved most,” says Gardner, who broke a 20-year career kills record in October 2015. For that achievement, she was named Player of the Week by both the American Volleyball Coaches Association and the Pac-12.

“Athletically, getting the kills record was amazing,” she admits. “But at the end of the day, volleyball is a team sport, so if I didn’t have teammates who were playing defense and offense and setting the ball, I couldn’t have done it.”

Gardner finished her career with 1,882 kills—11 more than the previous record holder. Over the course of her career, the stellar Sun Devil played eight matches with 27 or more kills.

Gardner also appreciates the support she found from professors in the classroom. “As an athlete, you have to notify your professors when you’re going to be gone,” she explains. “So you’re forced to forge relationships with them. Many times my professors would ask, ‘What sport do you play?’ There were a handful of times when I looked up into the stands and saw my professors at the match, which was really great.”

“At ASU, you see that you have people behind you who are encouraging you,” she continues. “They realize the path you’re on is hard, but they will help you through it.”