Zac Hutcheson carves out his place among OUA’s best

Senior experiences breakout year after overcoming injuries

Zac Hutcheson holding the Forsyth Cup after his team won the OUA gold medal game last weekend.
Zac Hutcheson holding the Forsyth Cup after his team won the OUA gold medal game last weekend.
Men’s volleyball player Zac Hutcheson’s had an amazing season—but it didn’t come without challenges.
Currently ranked second in the OUA for total kills with 266 and fourth with a .312 hitting percentage, the fourth-year’s had a long journey carving out an important role for the nationally-ranked Gaels. 
Despite suffering a back injury and fracturing his knee cap in 2017-18, Hutcheson started in all 18 of Queen’s regular season games this season—helping them to an OUA East leading 15-3 record. 
“I like to focus on what’s ahead. I try not to dwell on the past,” Hutcheson told The Journal about overcoming his prior injuries. “The more you dwell, the more it affects future games, [and] that’s how you spiral downwards.”
Compared to featuring in just 11 matches last season, Hutcheson bore the responsibility and challenges that come with being a leader on a team this time around. 
“In terms of offense, I had to take on the volume and it’s a much bigger role in terms of that,” he said. “It takes a toll on your body.”
Hutcheson added he’s overcome any hurdles this season because of his supporting cast, crediting his strong play and enhanced motivation to the help of his teammates. When not at his best, he said, his teammates are the most influential in keeping him going. 
“It’s my teammates, honestly,” Hutcheson said. “The team culture is great, so positive. That’s why we’ve been so successful.” 
“It’s definitely my team and my supporters that have helped me.”
With the departure of graduating and former team captain Markus Trence last season, Hutcheson looked forward to stepping into a position of leadership—one with more responsibility and increased sense of accomplishment. 
“I was always used to playing behind someone better,” said Hutcheson, who was cut from his high school’s volleyball team in grade ten. “I like to challenge myself to overcome [adversity], I’ve dealt with it a lot. You have to let it make you a better player and a better person.” 
Hutcheson’s grown since coming to Queen’s in 2015, especially when it comes to confidence on the court. 
“In first year, my coach [Brenda Willis] told me I had to express myself more on the court,” he said. “I had to interact more and show facial expression and emotion when playing.” 
Evolving into one of the Gaels’ best players, the change he’s undergone has shown on the biggest stages. One of Hutcheson’s greatest career achievements was last week’s OUA championship win against the McMaster Marauders. Along with Queen’s securing gold for the first time since 2011-12, the outside hitter landed 18 kills and 19.5 points in the game—good for one of his strongest performances this season.
“People watched me grow up in the community throughvolleyball,” he said. “I play my best when we have big crowds, especially at home.” 
According to Hutcheson, his resolve and calmness on and off the court are his greatest attributes as a player. 
“I stay calm in the game; I have no ups and downs in terms of emotions,” Hutcheson said. “I try to keep a level head in the game and with other teammates.” 

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