Freshman volleyball player sets team up for success

Courtesy of Suffolk Athletics

Courtesy of Suffolk Athletics

With 16 collegiate athletes on Suffolk University’s volleyball team, Harmony Johnson sets her goals high. In her first season, the freshman has netted the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Rookie of the Week accolade four times.

Johnson won GNAC Rookie of the Week in the second, fifth, sixth, and ninth weeks of the season, more than anyone else in the conference said head volleyball coach Scott Blanchard.

“Harmony is our setter, which is essentially the quarterback, the most important part of the team.  She is our Tom Brady,” said Blanchard. “The biggest thing she brings to the team is how calm she plays. She is only a freshman, yet everyone looks up to her. She is not a captain, but there is no doubt who is in charge when we are playing. Nothing scares her. She is a major reason why we are where we are right now. I know it’s a cliche, but, she is the glue that holds it all together. She does it all, runs the offense, plays defense and scores points with her serve.”

Johnson who is from Riverside, California decided to continue her volleyball career at the collegiate level at Suffolk. Currently she holds a total of 821 assists and is ranked as a top-five setter in the GNAC.

Johnson began her volleyball career in seventh grade. Her interest was sparked during physical education class and she knew it was something she wanted to try. For Johnson, transitioning to Boston was not difficult.

“I always had an independent soul and never mind being on my own,” said Johnson. “The only thing I had to adjust to was being away from my mom and figuring out things for myself. My mom is my life but social media helps because she is one call away.”

Besides volleyball, Johnson has participated in gymnastics, basketball, swimming, water polo, tennis and dance. She decided to continue her passion for volleyball at Suffolk because she liked the coach and her teammates.

“In the past I’ve come across coaches that are very political when it comes to sports,” said Johnson. “Coach Blanchard is not that coach at all. The girls, I love them to death. They are so welcoming and they don’t make me feel like a freshman. The first day they were instantly my family.”

Captain Sarah Mullahy appreciates that Johnson is an athlete that naturally leads by example.

“Although she is only a freshman, she stepped onto the court this year with confidence and proved herself to be a player who we can consistently depend on,” said Mullahy. “To have such a success so early on in her collegiate career is a testament to her hard work and dedication to the sport.”

With the amount of time that school and sports demand, balancing life as a student-athlete is not easy. Johnson prioritizes time management by building a schedule with upcoming practices and games, while also making sure that she gives herself enough time for schoolwork.

As the season continues, Johnson hopes that the team will continue to accomplish their goals together.

“Although we’ve made history this season, we still have a lot more to accomplish,” said Johnson. “We’re not done yet.”