This year, Regent’s womens volleyball team made Royals history, winning the NCCAA South Regional Championship. They are now headed to the NCCAA National Volleyball Championships in Point Lookout, Missouri later this month, which will be the first NCCAA National Championship appearance by any team sport in Regent’s athletic history.
The Royals ended their regular season with a winning record for the first time in the seven-year history of Regent Royals volleyball. This season was also their first-ever winning season, first-ever national ranking, and first-ever appearance in the NCCAA South Regional Playoffs.
In addition, two players, Nicole Walston (‘24) and Ella Simone (‘27), were named NCCAA National Player of the Week for their outstanding performances. Royals Athletic Director, Michael Allen, commented on the high-quality student-athletes at Regent and the progress they have made over the past year.
“It is exciting to see all of our teams ‘moving the needle’ here in our athletic department. Every fall team has improved over the past year, as the competitive gap between us and most of our opponents has greatly decreased” he said.
Their success did not come easily, and mindset was essential for this team as they fought to achieve their goals this season.
“Our mindset this season has been to give our best at both practice and games. We all really wanted to be the first team at Regent to have a winning season, so we practiced hard to accomplish this” said Taylor Mitchell (‘26), who was one of the starting players this season.
Mitchell’s teammate, Brielle Peltonen (‘26) agreed that the team learned early on the importance of maintaining a positive attitude.
“We figured out that having a positive and healthy mental attitude is super important when it comes to performance. The better mindset we had, the better we played” Peltonen said.
Especially with a team made up predominantly of freshmen, staying mentally engaged can be a struggle, but head coach, Katelyn Totherow, said that everyone’s dedication and focus impressed her throughout the season.
“We are a super young team, typically starting four freshmen. On the court, their character and grit have been surprising,” Totherow said.
“We would be down 0-8 and fight back to win the set which shows a lot about who they are as athletes but also who they are as people.”
Totherow said her coaching philosophy was centered around building consistency and trusting the process. Once the team had a strong technical foundation to work with, they focused on discipline, concentrating on the things they could control during the game and having fun while competing.
“I love this team so much and have a genuine relationship with each player individually, which has made this entire season so much fun. Seeing their love for the game, for each other, and for Jesus encouraged me daily” Totherow said.
The success of this team is an amazing accomplishment for the volleyball program as well as a tangible result of Regent’s emphasis on athletics over the last couple of years.
Totherow said, “I am so excited that we have been able to grow the program so much in my three years here [at Regent]. Helping this program grow to a place of being respected and a known program has been a goal of mine since I took the position here. I believe we have done that this year, and I couldn’t be prouder of this team for accomplishing that.”
Athletic Director, Michael Allen, listed several ways Regent has assisted its players this year, including hiring a full-time athletic trainer and offering mental health coaching to teach student-athletes how to handle the demands of school and athletics.
Allen also mentioned how the support of the Chancellor, Board of Directors, and Regent’s Executive Leadership Team has allowed the athletic department to flourish over the past couple of years and how excited they are to continue growing.
Future plans for the Royals include pursuing NCAA Division III membership, building a strong booster club, and building on-campus athletic facilities for student-athletes as well as the general student body.
“We are excited about the potential growth for Regent Unversity and cannot wait to see how God will bring that to fruition over the next three to five years,” Allen said.
For more information about the womens volleyball team or the Regent Royals, check out their website at https://regentroyals.com/.