Mallory Livingston made the transition look easy.
Livingston evolved from front row focus as a freshman to all-around excellence as a sophomore.
Her reward: Livingston is the Indiana University East women's Athlete of the Year for the 2013-14 school year, as determined by a vote of the Red Wolves athletics staff.
"It's always nice to get an award," Livingston said. "But you can never do it without teammates, so I want to say thanks to my teammates for helping me have a good season."
Livingston (Union City, Ohio/Mississinawa Valley High School) was an honorable mention American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Northeast Region honoree and repeated as an All-Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference selection.
Livingston was a focus of opposing defenses in 2013 as the Red Wolves' most notable front row returnee, yet she still led IU East with 340 kills, 2.79 kills per set and a .964 serve percentage. She also had eight matches with double-digits in kills and digs in her first season playing all-around at the college level.
"I always played all-around in high school and club, but my freshman year we had so many good passers, so I practiced in the back row in practices but didn't play there in games. I got to my sophomore year and ended up playing all-around, and my biggest improvements were in serve receive and defense," she said.
Livingston was just a sophomore during the 2013 season, but already was one of the elder stateswomen on the squad.
"I wanted to be one of the leaders because I had great leaders and role models when I was a freshman, and I wanted to be that leader and role model, try to be the same person the (2012) seniors and upperclassmen were for me."
Her favorite moments from the 2013 season included a home conference win against Indiana University Kokomo and saving 11 set points in the fourth set in a conference match at Berea College before winning the set 33-31 (a school record for longest set under current scoring rules).
Livingston also shines in the classroom. She is a two-time academic all-conference honoree and was a CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-District College Division selection as a sophomore.
Livingston begins her junior year with the Red Wolves on Aug. 20 when the Red Wolves host Judson University at Seton Catholic High School in the opening match of the 2014 season.
Photo and information from Indiana University East