Hailey Roberts is a killing machine on the volleyball court - and even two shoulder injuries haven't been able to stop her.
Tarleton State University's two-time collegiate All-America outside hitter leads the nation (NCAA Division II) in kills per set (5.65) and is fourth in overall kills with 277.
Roberts is making a significant dent in the TexAnns' statistical record books, but seems to take it in stride with a businesslike approach.
That's because 6-foot-tall junior has long been performing at a high level. She earned all-district and all-state honors all four years in high school at Cedar Park (Class 4A at that time), and was named as a high school All-America performer her senior year.
Roberts captured the Lone Star Conference offensive player of the week honor for the 11th time in her TSU career and third time this season for her recent performance in a key victory over Texas A&M-Kingsville. She notched 26 kills in that contest, becoming only the second TexAnn ever to surpass 1,500 career kills.
Roberts needs only 32 more kills to break the school's all-time mark of 1,545, held by Desiree Reed. Also in that win, Roberts had 11 digs and now needs 94 more to become the fourth TexAnn to post at least 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs for a career.
That night marked the 50th double-double for Roberts at TSU, and her 11th this season, as the team held on to second place in the LSC standings.
With Roberts strong presence around the net, the TexAnns went into Friday night's match at Cameron University with a 5-1 record and only two losses in their first 14 matches this season.
Despite being a two-time All-America pick for TSU, Roberts said she doesn't show much excitement on the court. And, she said, the TexAnns in general tend to have a businesslike approach to the game.
"I'm not an emotional leader on the court," Roberts said. "I'm very serious on the court. We're very focused in the gym. We just get our job done."
Roberts had fun playing at the high school level - and still does.
"It's still a fun thing, but we take care of business," Roberts said. "I'm just always a focused player."
She said that there was no specific area she worked on to meet the challenge of moving up to the collegiate level from high school.
"(College is) just a different level of play, so you up your play in all areas," she explained. "You just have to take everything to a whole new level. I've become a smarter player every year. I'm smarter with my shots on offense, and I read better on defense. I think every year we all have to improve to get better."
As for any potential school records that she may achieve, Roberts said, "It's cool to know I'm setting records, but I really don't think about it. I just move on and continue to play."
Roberts said she had to make some adjustments after suffering two shoulder injuries that required surgery, just 10 and a half months apart. Her first surgery came when she was a freshman, and the second was last February after her sophomore season was over. Both required six months of recovery time.
With the labrum injury and resulting bursitis she experienced, Roberts learned when to dial down the ferocity of her hits.
"Instead of wailing on every ball, I learned where to place the ball. It's definitely tough," Roberts said of getting past the injury. Like coming back and learning how to fully swing again took two weeks. It was hard and scary and frustrating all at the same time."
The TexAnns have a larger roster this season, thanks to 10 freshmen who joined the squad. Roberts said those younger players are only going to improve, and that gives the team greater potential.
"This year we have more talent," Roberts said. "It gives us more options. We're really close, and that's always been a plus for Tarleton's teams. With more girls comes more competitiveness, so that helps a lot in practice. We can go really far. We have a lot of talent. We just need to figure out where to place that talent and how to use it all."