UW volleyball setter Ella May Powell reflects on months-long injury recovery

The University of Washington has two regular-season matches remaining with a chance to win the Pac 12 championship. The team plays matches at Cal Thursday and Saturday, then the NCAA selection committee will announce the tournament seeding Sunday.

This will be quite a feat, especially for UW Husky setter, Ella May Powell whose season almost ended before it even got started.

Resilience and clutchness, two words that describe the UW's volleyball team and its star setter. 

"As with lots of aspects of our team, a lot of our success is connected with Ella May’s performance. Particularly our offense," said UW volleyball head coach, Keegan Cook.

That success came into question this past fall, as Ella May Powell’s journey to the volleyball season almost ended before it even began. 

"I kind of just took like a weird spin on a ball, really kind of a funky thing. That didn’t really look like a hurt my knee at all, but I ended up tearing my medial meniscus to where it tore and flipped into my joint. So I had to get it repaired," said Powell.

The injury kept the All-American off the court for months. 

"There was like a two to three-week span right in the middle of my recovery process where I was like, I just [didn't] feel like I was getting anywhere. I feel like I’m doing so many little things and I've been doing this for so long and it’s not helping and it’s not helping," said Powell. 

But Powell didn’t give up and pushed herself in ways she’d never been tested before.  

"Just the mental side of not seeing big gains was a huge thing for me. But once I got to a place where I felt a lot more confident and my knee felt a lot more stable, it just kind of just took off from there," Powell said.

Cook said he saw her commitment and drive to get back on the court. 

"One of the most important things is that you are working as hard as your teammates are. And, I don’t think anyone could say that she was not doing that, even like when the days were more mentally taxing than anything," said Cook.

Now stronger than ever, the junior is ready to lead her team forward. Mentally and physically, Powell is ready to compete side-by-side with her teammates as they set their sights on the NCAA National Championship. 

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