Spotlight - Chelsea Hudson

LANGLEY, British Columbia - Chelsea Hudson is in her happy place.

Although she’s hardly a fan of the limelight, and would probably prefer to write a 50-page paper than do an on-camera interview, Trinity Western’s fourth-year setter is delighted to be taking over centre stage on the volleyball court.

Thanks to last year’s starting setter Lauren O’Reilly playing for Canada at the 2010 World Championship in Japan – where the red and white were eliminated in the first round after going 0-5 – Hudson is the undisputed quarterback of the Spartans offence for the first time since arriving at TWU in 2007

And after helping guide her team to a pair of road wins over three-time defending CIS champion UBC in the season opening weekend, she proved to herself, her team and the rest of Canada West something she thought she knew all along.

She’s pretty darn good.

“I felt confident and prepared through preseason,” said Hudson, who is a psychology major. “There was pressure and I was nervous but I don’t know if I was nervous for myself or for the team because I was just full of excitement and anticipation.”

For Hudson, getting an opportunity to stand with the Spartans starters on opening night has been a long time coming.

When she made the decision to move from Winnipeg, Man. to Langley, B.C., the theoretical plan was to have her develop in the first two years, with spurts of playing time, and take over the starting role in her third season, 2009-10. But that didn’t pan out.

After only one year with TWU – a season of spelling Keanne Tome, and getting the occasional start – Hudson was hit with the news that the highly-touted O’Reilly would be returning, after her freshman year at Michigan State, to Langley to play for the Spartans starting in January 2009.

And when O’Reilly arrived, it wasn’t long before she became the Spartans starting setter.

“You start to question your own abilities, but I do love Lauren,” Hudson said. “We’re really similar in a lot of ways and we get along great. She’s one of my good friends.

“It has been challenging. It’s not what I expected my five years to be. You always envision yourself starting and leading the team for a long period of time and that’s not the case for me.”

But while some people would grow increasingly frustrated with the scenario, Hudson made her situation into a positive.

Because of a tight-knit team, and especially close friends Kara Jansen Van Doorn and Julie Hawkes (formerly Koepke), Hudson grew stronger as a person and as an athlete and, in doing so, gained perspective.

“I always say to myself, my plan is good but God’s plan is greater,” Hudson said. “I’m supposed to be here for a reason and I have just learned so many things that will help me lifelong and not just in volleyball. I’m not defined by being a volleyball player.

“My foundation lies in Christ and that helps to know that all worldly things and struggles aside, that’s the centre and that’s my focus so I can overlook what my expectations were and just see that its for the best and I’ve made lifelong friends that I wouldn’t pass up for the world. Lauren being here has been a blessing and God’s plan is greater than mine.”

Jansen Van Doorn added: “It was a really cool process because she learned a ton about who she is outside of volleyball. I think she’s stronger because of it and a better athlete because she went through so much adversity. Volleyball is not her idol and she’s really matured through that process.”

Hudson has goals to one day get her PhD and work as a counseling psychologist. But for now, she’s loving being on the court and loving life because she knows everything that happens is all in God’s plan.

Last Updated: 2010-12-21
Author: Mark Janzen