Sept. 30, 2013
By RJ Layton, Mizzou Strategic Communications assistant
Through 16 matches, the Missouri volleyball team remains undefeated behind a balanced group of savvy veterans and hungry newcomers. Julia Towler is one of six freshman that round out a recruiting class ranked 18th nationally before the season.
Towler, a 6-foot-2 middle back, adds some homegrown talent to a team poised for SEC action. The Blue Springs, Mo., native is no stranger to Tiger athletics. Her father James is an MU alum, and Towler says as a result, she's always been a big Mizzou fan.
"I always grew up with Mizzou being my dream school," Towler said. "We've always been a Mizzou family. Once they offered me, I couldn't turn it down."
Towler says she began playing volleyball in the 3rd grade and fell in love with the sport quickly. By sophomore year of high school, she was already racking up All-Conference honors while leading Blue Springs South to a Suburban Big Six Championship. She continued to improve throughout high school, notching 977 kills in her career and earning second-team All-State recognition as a senior.
Towler also played for a club team in Kansas City, the KC Extreme. She helped the squad qualify for the Open Level at Junior Nationals.
"Both high school and club ball prepared me very well for the practices at Mizzou and the competition," Towler said.
Perhaps even more impressive than her on-court accolades, Towler's performance in the classroom sets the standard for student-athletes. She maintained a 4.24 GPA in high school, despite handling a rigorous course work. Towler enrolled at Mizzou in the fall with 33 college credits already under her belt.
Towler's mentality towards academics will not change in college. She is an accounting major, with the ambition of becoming a Certified Public Accountant upon graduation.
"I take my academics very seriously," Towler said. "I want to push myself as far as I can. If I know I can get an `A' then I'm going to get one. I want to push myself to be the best that I can be."
The freshman standout has taken her smarts to the courts right out of the gate in the 2013 campaign. Towler has played in 15 sets thus far, posting 13 total blocks and 14 kills on .345 hitting. She hopes to learn from senior leaders like fellow Blue Springs native and All-American Lisa Henning
as her freshman season progresses.
"Molly (Kreklow) and Lisa are so experienced and knowledgeable about the game and they'll help you with anything," Towler said. "They're very good role models."
Meanwhile, Towler says she has set plenty of goals for herself and the team that she wants to accomplish in her career at Mizzou, including an SEC championship and at least a deep run in the NCAA tournament. For now, she will look to improve her game and make as big of an impact as possible.
"I just try to do my best and make a difference when I come in the game so that I'm still helping the team even though I'm not in there the whole time," Towler said. "Hopefully, I can end up starting by my senior year and take the team as far as we can go."