Senior Spotlight: Darby Dunn
After coming into LMU as a graduate student, Darby Dunn stepped into her role on the beach volleyball team, consistently contributing to the team’s success and learning from her coaches.
Dunn is originally from Vancouver, British Columbia, and after playing a year at home, and three years at Stetson University, she transferred to LMU and began her new career on the beach volleyball team. Although adjusting to a new school and team was different, Dunn was pleased to have joined such a great program, as she learned from the sport, the team, and the coaches. The season allowed Dunn to take on responsibility and perform strong leadership roles within the team.
Although Dunn’s season was cut short due to Coronavirus precautions, the Lions were on the way to a strong finish, ending the 2019-2020 season with the highest finish in program history. Dunn stated much of the season’s success came from their coaches, shaping the team culture. “John and Betsy are such special coaches because they really emphasize learning over winning. They want us to win, but ultimately they want us to learn,” Dunn explains. This particular dynamic allowed Dunn to gain knowledge on the sport and apply it to her adaptability on the court. With constant coach support, this reflected how invested Dunn and her teammates were to one other and to the game itself.
Because beach volleyball is played with doubles, teammate connection is especially important for Dunn. Beach volleyball relies heavily on a player’s versatility, and the ability to communicate well with all pairs on the team. “My partner, [Megan Rice] and I really focused on our communication…being able to be direct with each other was something that really helped us,” Dunn says. The relentless bond between her and her partner stimulated Dunn’s work ethic to battle and compete efficiently all season.
With the NCAA granting spring sport athletes another year of eligibility, Dunn is considering taking up that opportunity. “There’s a lot of things that have to be worked about but I’d really love to come back and get one more year with the team,” Dunn states. As a World Languages and Cultures major, Dunn also expresses plans to eventually enroll for another masters program for speech and language pathology. It can be seen that Dunn is an avid learner in all areas, developing in the classrooms and on the volleyball court. Exhibiting a deep understanding of the game during her time at LMU, Dunn will continue to learn the game as her end goal is to play professionally for Canada.