Husky Standout Mikayla Vivens Joins 1,000 Kill-1,000 Dig Club in a Unique Season

The News Magazine of HCU

By Philip McKenzie

Mikayla Vivens

When the HBU women’s volleyball team stepped onto the court on March 13 against a Central Arkansas team even with
the Huskies in the standings, they were determined to take a conference victory that would help set the pace for the upcoming Southland Conference Tournament. The Huskies won their hard-earned victory, but it was senior Mikayla Vivens who left with more than just a win. Vivens joined HBU’s 1,000 Kill-1,000 Dig Club with her fifth kill of the match. Two days prior to the matchup with UCA, Vivens earned her 1,000th dig in a 3-0 victory over Northwestern State. As remarkable as it was to reach 1,000 digs and kills within the span of 48 hours, it also made her just the sixth player in
program history to achieve the feat.

For Vivens, the journey to 1,000 is a process that began long before her first collegiate game. It began as a child when she picked up a volleyball for the first time. When asked about her first steps in the sport she noted that initially, she had little interest in volleyball.

“Originally I didn’t want to play volleyball,” Vivens said as she reminisced. “I was always into basketball, track and football.”

Her mother, a volleyball coach herself, introduced Vivens to the game. Vivens said, “She threw me into it, and I ended up being good.” It was at 9 years old that the San Antonio native first stepped onto the court and truly began her journey to where she is today.

It wasn’t just a one-way shot to college achievements, however. Vivens continued to refine her skills, practicing day after day to turn herself into the athlete and player she wanted to become. It was not about being a good hitter or being a solid defender; it was about being all of that in one. she wanted to be a complete player, a 1,000-1,000 player.

“I want to contribute everywhere on the floor, all of the time,” Vivens added. This drive was born from a high standard, both from her family and herself. She continued, “As I was [growing in volleyball] it was about being the best…” and this continued to be one of her greatest motivators, until one day it changed: “… now it is about playing for my team.”

As a senior, in a year as turbulent and crazy as the 2021 spring season was due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vivens and her teammates found themselves staring down a season that at times seemed like it may not even happen. From playing a season in the spring, instead of the usual fall, to cancellations and match postponements, the confusion was new and unexpected.

Through it all, Vivens and her teammates continued to practice and improve. “We never knew when we were going to play… [we had] to stay ready in case we could play,” she said. The possibility of a chance to play was enough drive for the Huskies, and for Vivens, helping her teammates get the season they deserved found its way to the top of the list.

Dealing with the uncertainty and the additional obstacles presented during this unique season, the Huskies gave it their all, consistently maintaining a spot in the top third of the conference standings. Vivens, a three-time all-conference honoree, certainly played an important role. On March 11 against Northwestern State when she recorded her 1,000th dig, she had no idea she’d reached the mark until someone told her. It was only then that she realized how close she was to doubling her achievement. “Someone after the game [told me], ‘Oh, you’re five away from 1,000 kills.’” And so it came in their next match, only two days later when the Huskies battled Central Arkansas. In a 3-1 victory for the Huskies, Mikayla posted a double-double with 15 kills and 14 digs, breaking through for her second 1,000 to join the 1,000-1,000 club. It was only when she looked over and saw her teammates celebrating – spelling out “1,000” with their arms – that she herself felt the thrill. “I was happy because my teammates were happy!” she added about the marks that helped etch her name in program history.

With the season ending with a loss to eventual champion Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the SLC tournament quarterfinals, Vivens is set to return for one final season this fall. As she continues to recover from a shoulder injury early in the season that limited what she was able to do, she feels as if once she’s back to full capacity she’ll be able to show just how much is left to accomplish with the Huskies taking aim at a Southland Conference title. While the day may come where she must hang up her jersey, the picture of her collegiate career isn’t finished yet. And Vivens isn’t one to stop playing, not while there’s still time on the clock.

HBU Volleyball 1,000 Kill-1,000 Dig Club

Elele Ekadeli (2001-02)                        1,389 Kills       1,029 Digs

Jessica Barrera (2005-08)                    1,447 Kills       1,402 Digs

Heather Leaverton (2009-12)             1,196 Kills       1,218 Digs

Jessica Wooten (2013-15, 17)            1,467 Kills       1,373 Digs

Bailey Banks    (2015-17)                      1,175 Kills       1,082 Digs

Mikayla Vivens (2017-present)           1,071 Kills       1,075 Digs