Peyton Grahovac has made a big impact for ASU volleyball, despite battling an injury

Grahovac has been a big part of ASU's team both on and off the court

Peyton Grahovac did not get the senior season with ASU volleyball that she always imagined. 

The opposite hitter played volleyball for the majority of her life and went into her last collegiate year excited and full of hope, only to be plagued with an injury to her quad before the season even began.

"I was shocked and very frustrated for the first week," Grahovac said. "I don’t even think I realized what it meant, I was just kind of trying to heal. I was like, 'It will get better, it will get better.' After I realized the length of time it would get better, I was very frustrated."

However, instead of letting the injury affect her negatively, Grahovac realized she had no control over it and turned her attitude into being the most supportive and positive teammate she could be.

"I really turned to my faith, to my friendships and to my family after that first week, after realizing it's not going to take a week to heal," Grahovac said. "It won't be the season I hoped ... but I am going to be the best teammate. I was like, 'how am I going to better this team off the court?'"

The Sun Devil knew she wasn't going to get the season she wanted statistically, but the relationships she gained and strengthened within her team was just as rewarding.

"I think I have formed the best relationships with my teammates and that definitely was a blessing," Grahovac said. "My identity, I use to be only volleyball, but there is so much more."

Grahovac was there for her teammates when it came to helping with techniques or any help in practice, but even more, she wanted to form relationships outside of the game and away from the court.

"Everyday I tried to get close to my teammates in other areas," Grahovac said. "Yeah I may not have that connection with you because you are setting me or because you are the passer (on the court) ... I wanted to get to know the girls from completely outside the athletic area."

Head coach Sanja Tomasevic said she never wants to see a player injured, but especially in her senior season. Despite the injury, the Sun Devil coach noted Grahovac was there for her team the whole time.

"She's always been a girl that the girls flock over to," Tomasevic said. "They know she cares. She's been a big part of the culture we have had here, and she can guide them and help them a lot."

Tomasevic talked with Grahovac about possibly redshirting for the season and transferring schools so she could have one last full season, but Grahovac wouldn't go elsewhere, saying she loves ASU and her team.

Even through ups and downs with the program, Grahovac has never regretted her decision of transferring to ASU after spending her first two years of college at Long Beach State.

"Win or lose, this (ASU volleyball) was the best thing ever, even after last season ... I have never been happier, I have never loved people more. I have made the best relationships ever," she said. "I don’t want to leave here, I am wearing a Sun Devil jersey on my senior night."

Associate head coach Carlos Moreno said the way Grahovac handled her injury is a great example for all the other players.

"She was always holding the girls accountable even when we weren't around. I think those are things we value a lot," Moreno said. "It was kind of a mindset shift for the girls of, 'if I am not playing, I can (still) be a great teammate.'"

The senior has six more regular season games as a Sun Devil, with two on the road and four at home in Wells Fargo Arena. 

Although ASU is currently on an eight-game losing streak and facing some adversity after a strong start to conference play, Grahovac will continue to do what she has done throughout her career: keep being a good teammate despite whatever obstacles she may face.

"I have nothing to lose now. I already lost a lot of season," Grahovac said. "There's Sun Devils on the front of the jersey and Grahovac on the back. I want to make sure I wear both those names with pride, and I want to make them proud." 

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