Sophomore middle blocker Melissa Eaglin (15) scored 2.23 points and 1.77 kills per set (Courtesy of CSUN Athletics)

As a seventh grader, she chose volleyball after soccer and basketball failed to hold her interest. Now, sophomore middle blocker Melissa Eaglin is a Cal State Northridge Matador who rose above injury to have a strong performance during her freshmen year.

A fracture in her shin would bench Eaglin during the 2015 season, her first year. She returned in 2016 as a starter all 28 games and paced the team with 103 blocks. Eaglin also was ranked sixth in blocks in the Big West. To top off her talented season, Eaglin was named on the Big West All-Freshmen Team.

“I didn’t expect to do as well as I did just coming back from a shin fracture,” Eaglin said. “I was still in pain throughout the season but yet, I still was able to do well at the same time.”

Eaglin, who has a 3.0 GPA, is majoring in child development. Balancing student obligations can be most difficult when athletes travel for away games, according to Eaglin.

“I think you just have to be self-motivated then when we’re traveling to get the work done when it’s due,” she said. “You’re on the plane or the bus and you are usually tired, so you don’t want to do the homework or you’re in the hotel and you just want to sleep majority of the time.”

During her sophomore season, Eaglin put up significant numbers for the Matadors. In their 1-3 loss against Portland, Eaglin scored a season high of 15 points. Against Portland State in the home opener, she made a career best of 13 kills and scored 14.5 points.

The energized Matadors was a scrappy team with a 12-15 overall record and a 7-9 conference record. CSUN forced a fifth set against Hawai’i on October 14; Eaglin led the Matadors with five blocks. Hawai’i is second in the Big West standings.

“This season has been actually really different from my last two years,” she said. “I feel like there’s opportunities … more opportunities than there was last year to beating teams like Hawaii or Long Beach or Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo).”

Eaglin noted how a religion and logics class she took during her sophomore year is her favorite.

“We were always talking as a class and it was mostly about thinking critically,” she said. “I thought that was very interesting, just the class in general was different from other classes I’ve ever taken before.”