December 8, 2023

By Devin Castillo

UIW is proud to be the home of many competitive and determined athletes. Each is dedicated to their chosen sport as they continuously work to grow and develop their athletic skills. As of recently, UIW’s women’s soccer and volleyball teams have been experiencing the busyness that comes with the game season. They’ve gone up against impressive competitors from schools inside and outside the state of Texas. Each game is a demonstration of our women athletes’ tenacious spirits and exemplars of Cardinal spirit.

Peyton Adams, who plays both defender and midfield positions on UIW’s women’s soccer team, is one of UIW’s most dedicated athletes. She has been with the team throughout all four of her undergraduate years and in the first year of her graduate program.

“I started playing soccer when I was about four years old. I played a lot of other sports growing up as well, but I just love soccer the most and it stuck through high school. Then I decided that I wanted to play in college,” Adams shared.

She noted that her favorite part about playing for UIW is the community it has to offer. She feels that the campus has a smaller feel that allows her to build genuine bonds with those who are part of the University community. Especially when it comes to the other women on her team, who she views as sisters.

As an athlete, Adams acknowledges that in addition to experiencing the jubilation that comes with wins, she can also experience the difficulty that comes with losses. She’s found that the support of her UIW women’s soccer family has helped her persevere through it all.

“When you do fall, you're not just falling by yourself. There are so many people to help you pick yourself up like coaches, staff and teammates. They're always there around you. And I think honestly, you learn the most from losing. That's when I found the most success and then moving forward.”

While in the world of women’s volleyball, middle blocker and opposite hitter, Annamarie Alverez has been exemplifying her own impressive embodiment of athleticism.

Alverez has been playing volleyball since she was nine years old and is now wrapping up her fourth year on the women’s volleyball team during her senior year.

She noted how much her coaches and team supported her throughout her time at the University. She’s especially grateful for the bonds that she has had the opportunity to form with her teammates.

“We've had a lot of girls come in and out (of the team), but I think just the culture that we've built and continue to build, it's been one of my favorite parts,” Alverez shared, “We're all pretty tight as a team, we have been for every single team that I've been a part of.”

As just one team member, she shared that she strives to continuously offer leadership to her team members when times are hard. “I think that the biggest thing for me is keeping a positive influence on and off the court by being there for my team. That's what I love.”

As one can imagine, UIW’s women’s athletics coaches are immensely proud of their athletes.

Gabryel Ording Head Women’s Volleyball Coach Gabryel Ording shared that she is pleased with how Alverez and the rest of the team have shown resilience and passion on and off the court. She trusts that her team is always going to bounce back and give it their all during each match.

Aside from that, she is also proud of how her players have grown as individuals. “I think that to me, it’s more important that they leave here prepared and being great humans,” Ording noted, “They learn a lot through the sport as they compete. If we win a championship awesome, but at the end of the day, there's life after volleyball.”

Jake Plant Head Women's Soccer Coach Jake Plant also holds similar sentiments when it comes to Adams and the rest of his players.

“Really pushing them to be the best version of themselves is something that I get a kick out of and that's what I've dedicated my coaching career to. I must make sure that this group is ready for the next stage of their lives, which is to be really good professionals. But most importantly, good human beings and the way they treat each other and how they treat people,” explained Plant.

As these ladies wrap up this chapter of their athletic careers, they reflect on the memories, learned lessons, and lasting bonds they have made throughout their time here at the nest. They hope that as they move on to new adventures, they encourage other women athletes to invest in their interest in sports.

Adams feels that her experience with the UIW women’s soccer team has been beyond beneficial and that it will be hard to let go of in the end. “I would recommend it to anyone. I think it's such a great opportunity. Just enjoy it and embrace it all because it goes by quickly too. I can't believe it’s almost done.”

As we celebrate the accomplishments of our current women athletes and welcome new additions in the coming years, we at the Nest are grateful to these extraordinary ladies for allowing UIW to be a part of their stories.