BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — “If you just look around, this is such a cool place to be, it’s so fun and there’s no other college sport like it,” said UAB Beach Volleyball player Emma Andraka.

Don’t let the fun atmosphere trick you into thinking beach volleyball is easy.

“I think a lot of people assume that just anyone can play and that it’s just a keep the balloon off the ground sort of thing,” Andraka said.

But if anyone makes it look easy, it’s 5th year senior Emma Andraka.

“She is just so fast. She touches everything on defense, she has amazing ball control,” said Andraka’s parter Jessica Ennis. “I love playing with her. She gets super intense and I know she’s going to hustle for every single ball.”

While in the sand, Andraka has etched her name in stone. Last weekend, Emma became UAB’s all-time leader in career wins with 54. The previous record was set in 2019.

“It means a lot, I think it’s a testament to the growth of the program that people keep breaking the career wins record,” Andraka said. “It’s just been an honor to be part of the history of the team for the last five years.”

“She’s been such an amazing person that I’ve always looked up to being here, and just so excited to see what she does in the future,” said Ennis.

A future that includes finishing out the year at UAB, and then working on a PHD in Neuroscience.

For her accomplishments on and off the court, Emma Andraka is our athlete of the week.