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Alumni Corner: Former Boulder standout Graham wants to be ‘anchor’ of DePaul’s defense

Former Boulder player Tyler Graham hopes to play a bigger role at DePaul this season.
DePaul University / Courtesy photo
Former Boulder player Tyler Graham hopes to play a bigger role at DePaul this season.

Tyler Graham has been busy since she graduated from Boulder High School in 2012.

Graham played in 28 matches for the DePaul University Blue Demons volleyball team and helped the team start the 2012-13 season 13-0. That was the best start to a season in program history and Graham was just a sophomore.

But now that the Blue Demons graduated six seniors after last year and Graham is heading into her junior campaign, the one-time Boulder Panthers standout will have to help lead the Blue Demons and play a linchpin role if they’re going to approach last season’s success.

“I’m looking to be big in the back four,” said Graham, who plays defensive specialist and libero at DePaul. “I’m looking to be the anchor of the defense and really get our offense going. We don’t have any seniors on our team so we’re a really young team. We’re all looking to step up.”

Despite a 3-14 slide that tarnished their incredible start, the Blue Demons finished with more wins last season than they had compiled in a single season since 2001. During that two-faced season, Graham was third on the team with 211 digs, including a season-high 21 against Georgia State on Sept. 21. She was also fifth on the team with 20 aces.

One of three returning starters, however, Graham will have to worry about more than just her stats as she becomes one of the elder members of the team.

“This upcoming season is definitely going to be a rebuilding year for us,” Graham said. “But we have a strong core of returners and we’re excited about that. With the turnover there could be some big changes in how we do things, too, and that is also exciting.”

Blue Demons head coach Nadia Edwards wasn’t shy about her expectations of Graham going into her junior season.

“Last year, the team was pretty successful in terms of program firsts and records broken in the program,” Edwards said. “As one of the returners from that group, she’s worked really hard and is coming back a lot stronger and quicker. We’re really excited about the opportunity for her to do more. My expectations are for her to come in and prove that she can be the leader of the ball control group. Tyler has always been a tremendously hard worker. We’re really excited about all the work that she has put in.”

Four times an academic all-state first team member in Colorado, Graham received all-academic honors in the Big East last year. She said she is growing more and more excited about her studies in entrepreneurship and the networking opportunities the city of Chicago presents.

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