November 15, 2018
  • 12:00 pm Toros Get Defensive in Women’s Basketball Victory
  • 11:30 am Trio of Toro Underclassmen Earn All-Conference Honors
  • 9:00 am Presidential Distinguished Lecture Featuring Tommie Smith Brings Awareness to CSUDH
  • 7:30 pm Holes in the Wall You Can Walk To
  • 7:00 pm CBD – Three Letters That Just Might Revolutionize How You Deal With Anxiety

By Antonio Flowers
Staff Writer

CSUDH women’s volleyball player Esther Duru is a pivotal member of a squad that finished above .500 last season (and if it wins its last four games can do so again this season), only the third time since the team’s inaugural season of 1976 that the Toros could boast of a winning season.

But it’s not like Duru’s career as a Toro was pre-destined.

The Lynwood High School graduate, who made all-conference as a senior, wanted to attend CSUDH, but she said she never received a response from head coach Jennifer Adeva.

“It’s funny because I don’t remember her reaching out to me,” said Adeva, with a smile. “When she mentioned it, I asked her if she was the same player back then [and] she said no. So that’s probably why I didn’t get back to her back then.”

So, Duru had to consider other options to continue playing volleyball and keep her dream of representing CSUDH alive.

She started her freshman year of college at Providence Christian College, a small liberal arts college in Pasadena.

“My freshmen year I ended up at a school where my heart wasn’t at,” Duru said. “I didn’t like the environment, I didn’t like the student body and I didn’t like the small school.”

Her sophomore year, Duru transferred to East Los Angeles College. In her two years at ELAC, she ranked number one in the state for solo blocks.

She finally got her chance to wear the burgundy and gold in 2017. As a junior middle blocker, Duru started in 11 of her 23 matches, and ranked fourth on the team in blocks, with 62. She’s more than surpassed that as a senior, her 169 kills (including a career-high 20 against Sonoma State last weekend) trailing only Tati Yandel’s 246 and Rylee Brown’s 145.

“The timing wasn’t right then and now it is,” said Duru. “…So I guess it’s meant for me to be at Dominguez Hills.   Now I can do the things I wanted to do from the beginning. So, I’m just happy to be in this position.”

Like all student-athletes, Duru must juggle coursework, studying, tests, games, and practice, and all the stress that accumulates with so many responsibilities.

“This is basically our job,” Duru said. “We spend hours every day of the week putting in work.”

Duru said that as an athlete, she must deal with being tired and nagging injuries, and then switch modes to complete homework, and attend mandatory study halls. Like all CSUDH student-athletes, she must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA to be eligible to play.

“It’s definitely not easy, it takes a toll on you physically and mentally,” Duru said.

She said that while it’s stressful being a student-athlete, the example her parents set for her helps keep her going. Both her parents are Nigerian immigrants and, Duru said, their sacrifices for her education are constant inspirations.

“My parents sacrificed a lot and they really did [stress] the idea that education is really important,” Duru said. “And how you need to do what you need to do to open up doors for yourself. They always taught me how important it is to get an education and to understand that I have it a lot easier than what they’ve went through and they did this all for me.”

Duru also credits her parents for her selfless attitude and being a team player.

“My parents just taught me to be humble and be nice to others,” Duru said. “They tell me to always support others, always give off good energy to others, be positive, and always be that person that somebody can look up to if they’re having any problems.”

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