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ASU Volleyball's Geli Cyr is poised to tackle the NCAA tournament, overcoming a potential transfer portal entry

Taylyn Hadley Avatar
November 29, 2023

Out of Flower Mound, Texas, ASU Women’s Volleyball’s Geli Cyr has been a standout star over her past three seasons as a Sun Devil. 

Consistently earning more playing time and match starts each season, the outside hitter has been a go-to stud for ASU while smashing her previous season records with 2.69 kills per set and 2.77 digs per set. 

It’s apparent that the majority of players don’t maintain such impressive performance levels on both offense and defense.

Cyr however, is a true Swiss army knife on the court, earning praise from head coach JJ Van Niel for her proficiency both at the net and on the ground.

“I grew up playing every position,” Cyr said. “I was a libero, I was a setter, I was a right, I was middle, I did everything.” 

She attributes her success in securing a Division I scholarship to the versatility she displays on the court.

She never limited herself to a specific position while growing up, instead gaining expertise in various roles. This versatility earned her a starting position on the No. 5 seeded Sun Devil team heading into the NCAA Volleyball Championship.

“That’s something I tell a lot of young players,” Cyr said. “You shouldn’t confine yourself to one position so soon in your career because having every skill is so instrumental.”

Cyr’s approach has evidently paid off as she enters the NCAA Tournament in her junior year with the ASU team—a tournament she almost missed out on.

A portal from a Sun Devil to a Torero… almost

Less than a year ago, Cyr was in the process of entering the transfer portal. 

On an ASU team that finished 13-19 at the conclusion of its 2022 season, Cyr played in the second most sets on the team while contributing 225 kills, 2.13 points per set and 2.06 digs per set. 

Landing in the top three in most statistical categories on the No. 9 team in the Pac-12, Cyr felt that her time with the Sun Devils was coming to a close. 

“I didn’t think that I was growing here anymore for a while,” Cyr said. “I don’t know. The culture wasn’t what I wanted it to be and then I think it was like eight of us (who) left and went to the portal.”

Despite her initial plans to transition her career to the University of San Diego under former ASU associate head coach Carlos Moreno, credit transfer challenges and other issues thwarted Cyr’s pursuit of another program. 

ASU fans can be grateful for these obstacles as they played a role in keeping her with the Sun Devil team.

A near disastrous decision to transfer is now something that causes Cyr to gasp out a breath of relief when she thinks about what she would have missed out on. 

“I know, it’s hard to think about it because it’s so scary,” Cyr said. “If I would have been just watching (ASU). Like, wow, that’s crazy.”

Just in case you could not tell, she had no words to render at the thought of what might have been.

Despite avoiding dwelling on the “what ifs,” Cyr is ultimately very happy with the decision she made.

With a new head coach in Van Niel at the reins for the 2023 season along with a handful of new players, Cyr believed that the ASU program was changing for the better and she sure was correct.

Especially considering the freedom that she has been given from Van Niel and the rest of the coaching staff to fully display her talents on the court. 

Under Van Niel, the outside hitter has recorded 57 more digs on the defensive end and five more receptions than her 2022 season, landing second on the team only behind libero Mary Schroll. 

“It’s really nice because even if I’m having an off day hitting or blocking, I can always go back in the back row and make a difference there,” Cyr said. 

Remaining modest about her hitting and blocking skills, the junior, of course, has the second-highest number of kills on the team, surpassing last season’s tally by 68.

A true double threat on the court that opposing teams make sure to steer clear of.

Transitioning from a libero in high school to an outside hitter, Cyr attributes her slight growth spurt as a key factor in this shift. Her determination to excel in every position further fueled this move.

“I love being able to do everything,” Cyr said.

Contributions from Cyr this season on both ends of the ball have turned into 347 points for the ASU offense. Again, the second most on the team.

A Tale of Passion, Friendship, and a Dream Realized

Cyr’s substantial point contributions and skills stem from her fervent support for ASU, her dedication as a Pac-12 fan and the connections she has forged on the court with her teammates.

As one of the longest tenured players for the Sun Devils who will be returning next season, Cyr is already not looking forward to saying farewell to her seniors. 

“I’m going to miss them so much. Every year it’s so sad,” Cyr said. “It’s gonna be weird cause now I’m the senior. I’m so excited. It’s my final year of volleyball, nothing to lose, everything to gain, you know I’m going to be a leader on the court.”

One member of the departing group is Cyr’s best friend and roommate Jaden Ravnsborg.

“I’m gonna miss her so, so, so much,” Cyr said. “But I gained her as a lifelong friend.” 

The same goes with Cyr and the rest of the team. 

A prevalent theme in many college narratives is the genuine friendships, sense of family, and strong bonds that develop over each student’s collegiate journey.

The same holds true with Cyr and her volleyball teammates. 

“You know, we bicker and we fight like sisters,” Cyr said. “But at the end of the day, it’s like, there is literally no bond like the one that you make out there on the court. So I love them.”

The bond they share on ASU’s court this year holds a special significance, making this season stand out from others.

In the final year of the Pac-12 as we know it, Cyr’s dream has fully unfolded over the past three years as a Sun Devil in the nation’s premier conference.

“It means so much,” Cyr said. “Especially in the last year of the Pac-12. It’s just crazy, I wanted to play in the Pac-12 since I was eight years old, like it has been a dream of mine forever.”

If you know Cyr, then you know that this is true.

When word broke that Cyr had verbally committed to become a Sun Devil back in 2019, the high school student finishing out her journey at Flower Mound High School made sure to represent the maroon and gold every chance she got. 

Her Instagram page quickly became a gallery of photos showcasing her in Sun Devil volleyball gear, documenting her journey until her freshman year arrival in 2021.

As any Valley fan knows, the passion that ASU fans hold for their school is second to none. The same is true for Cyr who is thankful to finally give the fans the season that they deserve.

“I talk about this all the time, but the fan base here is really what drove me to the school,” Cyr said. “Win or lose, they ride for their team and I’m so happy that we’re finally able to give them back what they have been giving us all these years.”

A perfect lead way into the NCAA Tournament and the incredible season that the Sun Devil squad has put together. 

“I’m ready to go”

As the team prepares to lace up for their first game in the postseason against unranked Georgia, ASU is bubbling over with anticipation and are more ready than ever to hit the court in Provo, Utah with a 26-6 record as a No. 5 seed.  

The team is in the process of fine-tuning their play and putting the finishing touches on their nearly perfected formations.

“I’m ready to go, I want to get there already,” Cyr said. “But, I mean, I feel like at this point, it’s like, we just want to do it. We just want to play. I’m really, really excited to see how we’re gonna do.”

Cyr’s rallying cry for the team is clear: play with no fear and hold nothing back. She envisions a display of unbridled confidence, encouraging each player to unleash their power, whether it’s through a fierce spike or any other form that allows them to ‘rip’ the ball as hard as they can.

With Cyr on the hottest streak of her career, she has made her own adjustments to ensure maximum performance at the tournament including implementing a different tempo with her hitting over the last few weeks. Something that has enhanced her connection with Shannon Shields at setter.

With a finely tuned connection between what might be the most crucial duo on the court—the setter and the outside hitter—Cyr is prepared to give her all on the court. Her approach is one of unwavering aggression and confidence as she steps onto the biggest stage of her career to date.

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