Olympia High School Senior Avi Vetter verbally committed to the Stanford University beach volleyball program before the start of her sophomore year in 2018.
For Vetter, however, two things remained consistent: her passion for the sport and her desire to play for the Cardinal.
“I always knew Stanford was my first choice,” said Vetter, now a senior at Olympia High School. “I knew I was making a big decision at a young age and it would affect the entire rest of my life. A big factor that made me decide on Stanford was Coach Andrew Fuller. I had a great experience learning from him at the camps and I loved the way he broke down every skill into specific keys and emphasized mentality in his training. His coaching style is a perfect balance between intense and fun.”
More than two years after giving her verbal commitment, she made it official on National Signing Day in November.
“Another major reason I chose Stanford is because I could see myself at the school even if I wasn’t on the team,” Vetter said. “You never know what could happen and there’s always a chance you could get injured or won’t be able to play for some other reason. Between the incredible academics, passionate students, and amazing location and campus, I would still be happy to be at Stanford even if I wasn’t on the team.”
Before volleyball even entered her life, Vetter had always viewed Stanford as a dream school. Once she started playing, the appeal of the Cardinal program grew exponentially.
Soon, she started attending camps on the Stanford campus, always being sure to reach out to the Cardinal coaching staff via email before and after, highlighting her accomplishments and including a couple lines centering on her desire to play there.
As Vetter’s prowess on the court grew, the highlight section of her emails got longer. The 6-foot right-sight hitter was a 2019 all-South Puget Sound League selection as a junior, posting program records for most kills per set, best kill percentage and most season kills for the Bears.
“I also sent film and highlights after every tournament. The coaches started watching my games at big tournaments,” Vetter said. “Eventually, Fuller emailed my beach coach to set up a few phone calls to get to know me.”
Fuller, who guided Stanford to the program’s first post-season victory in 2017 and led the team to a school-record 17 wins in 2018, quickly made Vetter one of their top requiting targets.
“I really liked his technical yet fun coaching style and the culture of the beach program at Stanford. One day, Coach Andrew FaceTimed me and offered me a scholarship for a spot on the team,” said Vetter, who, along with her younger sister, Aris, had been a member of the prestigious DaKine Beach Volleyball Club Elite since 2017. “I was ready to accept the offer right then, but he encouraged me to sleep on it and talk to my parents and give him a call back the next day.”
The next morning, Vetter made it official.
“Avi is a versatile, savvy split blocker who will bring heaps of creativity and competitive experience to the team,” Fuller said. “Having grown up in Washington and playing for DaKine Volleyball Club, Avi is prepared to adapt to any and all difficult weather conditions.”
Vetter is a part of a five-member recruiting class for Stanford, joining fellow incoming freshmen Camdyn Doucet (New Braunfels, Texas), Emma Morris (Haymarket, Virginia), Serena Turner (Phoenix, Arizona), and Taylor Wilson (Santa Barbara, California).
According to Vetter, she has already made several connections with her future teammates, building an early relationship that should only strengthen once they all arrive on campus.
“I was impressed by the head start my class will have from the meetings the coaches have hosted for us to get to know each other and the Stanford program better,” Vetter said. “In our meetings, we have already talked about technique and strategy for every skill, different mindsets and when to use them, and our priorities and goals as a class. I have gotten to know my class really well and we all get along amazingly. They are a super fun and talented group and I can’t wait to spend four years with them.”
Vetter plans to study biology. She said she is considering human biology, biomechanical engineering, and biomedical computation, and is “also interested in economics and product design.” While she has plenty of time to narrow down her field of study, she knows exactly what Stanford is getting on the court.
“Stanford is getting a consistent, versatile, high energy split-blocker out of me,” Vetter said. “My strengths are ball control, smart placement, and aggressive serving and hitting. Prior to college, I am focusing on improving my defense and vision and improving my vertical and speed. I could not be happier knowing that I will be spending the next four years as a Stanford Cardinal.”