Taylor Morgan brings energy, enthusiasm from bench

The redshirt sophomore has appeared in 16 sets this season, hitting .324.

Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Taylor Morgan blocks the ball from Wisconsin at Maturi Pavilion on Nov. 26, 2016.

Carter Jones

Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Taylor Morgan blocks the ball from Wisconsin at Maturi Pavilion on Nov. 26, 2016.

Henry Hughes

It’s hard to miss Taylor Morgan on the sideline at Gopher volleyball games.

Whether by dancing or energizing the team vocally, Morgan makes her presence known. 

The redshirt sophomore has appeared in 16 sets this season, hitting .324, bringing energy off the bench.

“She’s truly committed to saying and doing everything she can,” said head coach Hugh McCutcheon. “That’s exhibited by the way she tries to rally the troops from the sideline.”

Morgan comes from Blaine, Minnesota, and knew she wanted to be a Gophers athlete since she was five.

“My dad works here,” Morgan said. “When I was [younger], I [wanted] to come to the University of Minnesota. I don’t know what sport I’m going to play — I’ll do chess if need be — but I always knew I was going to come.

Morgan’s willing attitude has followed her onto the court during matches as well.

“One main thing here at the U we try to focus on is giving more than we take,” Morgan said. “Giving any type of energy: yelling, screaming, hitting the floor, anything I can help do to motivate and boost my team, that’s what I’m here to do.”

When with her teammates, the energized persona doesn’t change for Morgan.

“I love the dancing in the locker room” said senior libero Dalianliz Rosado. “Before matches, before practice or even on a daily basis, she’s always dancing and pretty energetic.”

Despite the seemingly constant energy and motivation, Morgan claims she isn’t always so loose on the court.

“At times, I overthink things” Morgan said. “That just comes with growing up, and maturing. Once you know what you are doing…then you get that reassurance that ‘I’m good.’”

On Sunday at the Maturi Pavilion, Morgan entered the match toward the end of the third set with Minnesota trailing 21-19. She immediately responded by blocking an attack to push the score to 21-20. 

With minimal playing time throughout the match, it provided a boost for the Gophers.

“She’s earned the right to get in there” McCutcheon said. “At that point, we were looking for a way to score points and we thought putting her in to block would be the best way to try and do that.”

When Morgan got the point for the Gophers Sunday, Rosado said it was especially meaningful to her teammates who are accustomed to her fiery attitude.

For those looking to channel the same energy Morgan has, her playlist of choice might be a start.

“Not a lot of songs I can say, but I do like Nineties hip hop and Mo-Town,” Morgan said. “Those get me low key, chilled and amped.”

In terms of future plans for Morgan, she has her mind set on graduate school, and hopes to continue playing volleyball.

“I would like to play professionally at some point,” Morgan said. “I’ll be [at Minnesota] for grad school.”