Tech Seniors Share Special Bond
by Holly Kitten
Only, it wasn't the volleyball court.
"We actually met each other playing basketball," Dowdy said.
In fact, both had no idea the other played volleyball until they finally crossed paths at a tournament their junior year.
Meyers said she recalls being surprised to see Dowdy there. She was even more surprised to discover Dowdy was thinking about playing volleyball in college, and at Texas Tech, because Meyers was planning the exact same thing.
"It was really random," Meyers said.
About a year later, both had committed to Tech, and were about to begin their senior year in high school. They were invited to a grass tournament at Tech, and the Dowdy family decided to pick Meyers up in their RV, so they could travel together.
Meyers said she and Dowdy still didn't know each other too well, and remembers the weekend as being slightly awkward.
"It was just funny looking back now," Meyers said, "How almost uncomfortable it was for the both of us, because we wanted to be overly friendly, and didn't realize that it wasn't going to take any work. We were just going to become friends anyway."
Dowdy felt the same way.
Soon after, the two embarked on their college volleyball journey together. Meyers said they both chose Tech to make a difference in its struggling program.
However, the effect wasn't as immediate as they were hoping. The team struggled with losing streaks and various changes in the coaching staff.
Meyers said the adversities were tough to get through, but in the end, it made her and Dowdy stronger, especially as seniors this year, leading the team in one of its best seasons in years.
"I think it has helped us both in the long run," she said. "It gives us an appreciation for each other and the teammates we have, and now Don (Flora), and what he's doing with the program."
Dowdy said she enjoys Flora's coaching style because he creates a positive environment.
"I think the whole culture has changed," Dowdy said. "Don makes you want to work hard. You don't even realize how hard you're working because you have fun doing it."
Working hard is a forte of both, Flora said. Whether it is in the weight room, on the court, or just keeping their bodies in healthy condition, Dowdy and Meyers know how to do it.
"They lead in a great way," Flora said. "They walk the walk."
Dowdy said she and Meyers have completely opposite leadership roles. She is headstrong and dominant, and Meyers is calm and collected.
The combination of the two makes for a perfect match, Flora said.
"I think they truly respect each other for the individual they are and what they bring out in each other," Flora said. "That's a pretty cool thing."
Sometimes, their game faces also include a smile. Meyers said although it's important to take a collegiate sport seriously, it's also important to have fun with it.
Therefore, she said she and Dowdy bring a certain level of "goofiness" to the court to help create that positive environment.
"We're the biggest dorks ever, actually," Meyers said laughing. "We like to have fun. I especially try to lighten the mood on the court."
Off the court, they are leaders, too. Both have been named to the Academic All-Big 12 teams in their careers, and both enjoy volunteering in the community.
Dowdy said they help with club volleyball, where they coach children ranging from 9 to 12 years old.
Meyers said she hopes they are able to teach the children more than just athletic techniques.
"My volleyball skills will only make so much of an impact on someone," Meyers said. "I hope their life after that has been affected by what we've done here and how we've carried ourselves."
When they are not playing volleyball, going to school, or volunteering, Dowdy said she and Meyers enjoy hanging out together. Whether it's going to see the new Twilight movie on opening night, or just cooking at each other's houses, Dowdy said she never gets tired of being with Meyers, even if they do see each other every day at practice.
"We just hang out whenever we feel like it," Dowdy said. "It's never been an issue for us. She's a great friend. I'm very blessed to have her in my life."
After they graduate this semester, though, that daily routine will change.
Meyers plans to attend graduate school at Tech for strength and conditioning, and Dowdy hopes to play professional volleyball in either Europe or Puerto Rico.
Meyers said she has no worries, though. Actually, she's rather excited about Dowdy's plans to move abroad.
"That will be an awesome vacation for me to go visit (her)," she said laughing.
Dowdy said she has no doubt her and Meyers will remain close friends, despite the distance.
"I'll be seeing her plenty," she said. "I'm definitely going to miss her and miss being her teammate, but we're definitely going to stay in touch forever, so I'm not worried about it."
Until then, the Red Raiders have two more matches, and Dowdy said she hopes they can win as well as cherish those last few memories in the Tech volleyball program.
"There's no stopping it," Dowdy said. "The end's going to come before we know it. (We plan on) just enjoying every second that we can with our team and with each other, and every second we can on the court and making the most of it."
Flora said he knows the two will leave an important legacy behind - one of sticking to it. He said the pair made it through tough times and struggling seasons, and continued to keep a positive attitude through it all.
Now, he said, they are leaving the program better than when they found it.
"To be able to see two young women in the maturation process, in what they've done in the last nine months I've been here, let alone over those four years, is very unique and very special," Flora said. "They should be really proud about the people they've become and what they've done for this university, and what the university has done for them."
Although their last match is this week, Dowdy said she will never forget the memories she's created over the years with her teammates, beginning with the day that her family's RV pulled up to Meyers' house.
"It's been a wonderful experience," she said, "Just to have a winning season this year has been awesome. I'm going to miss everything about it."
Meyers said she will also never forget her teammates and coaches, and hopes they will never forget her and Dowdy, either. She wants their legacies to be more than about volleyball, though.
"I hope when people remember us, they don't just remember, `oh yeah, they were funny. They were good players,'" she said. "I hope they remember we were good people. We're trying to let God shine through us on the court. I hope that everyone, especially our teammates, really have seen that."