Photo by Gerald Castillo
Rattlers to Bobcats: Walsh making immediate impact for Texas State
Maggie Walsh makes an impact anywhere she goes and wherever she plays.
The former 2021 District 26-6A Most Valuable Player came on the central Texas volleyball scene as a junior after playing her freshman and sophomore seasons at Denton Guyer — where she earned Newcomer of the Year honors in District 5-6A as an underclassman in 2019. Her father, John Walsh, had accepted the athletic director and head football coaching position at San Marcos in the spring of 2020.
Despite growing up in Denton, Walsh had to leave everything behind going into her junior year — something the then 16-year-old probably wasn’t expecting. Guyer was an established volleyball program and a perennial playoff contender, they even went five rounds deep in the 6A UIL playoffs before losing to Byron Nelson during her sophomore season.
After hearing the news from her dad, Walsh was now jumping into a program coming off a 1-13 record and a last-place finish in district play — quite the contrast from Guyer’s 35-9 overall record and 12-2 district finish in 2019. Looking from the outside in, it seemed like Walsh was going from a team at the top to a team at the bottom moving into a district with powerhouses Austin Westlake, Lake Travis and Austin High.
That’s not how it worked out though.
Walsh helped galvanize her teammates and teach them how to win — it was enough to push the Lady Rattlers to an 8-6 record in 2020, which secured the purple and white their first playoff spot since 2016. Walsh and San Marcos weren’t done making history just yet, as they’d go on to upset Austin Vandegrift 3-1 in a first-seed versus fourth-seed matchup — securing San Marcos volleyball’s first playoff win since 2001.
Later that school year, Walsh committed to play volleyball at Texas State. It officially made the river city home for the former Guyer standout, something she may not have believed if you told her how it was going to work out before she moved.
Walsh went on to once again lead the Lady Rattlers to the playoffs in 2021 in a stout District 26-6A, cementing her legacy as one of the best to ever do it on a volleyball court at San Marcos High School.
The next step in Maggie’s path was Texas State, where she’d get to learn under the tutelage of head coach Sean Huiet. Walsh made an early impression on Huiet, bringing herself and fellow freshman Bailey Hanner to Texas State’s press conference after the team’s annual maroon and gold scrimmage.
“I knew how good we thought the freshmen (Walsh, Bailey Hanner, Samantha Wunsch, Jade Defraeye, Alyssa Clark and Olivia Adair) were gonna be, I didn’t know that they’d be ready to go this early and all of them are ready to go right now…they remind me a lot of the class with Janell (Fitzgerald) and Emily (DeWalt),” Huiet said. “They all came here highly recruited but wanted to come to Texas State and join our culture to do things that we haven’t done before. We knew how good they were, sometimes it just takes that transition to the college level, but all six of them are court ready right now and that’s good news.”
Walsh also showed her versatility on the court early on, Huiet decided to cross-train the freshman at defensive specialist as well as her duties as an outside hitter.
“I love playing back row, but also going to the front row is fun, too,” Walsh said. “I’m not as big as everyone else on the front row, but I like playing front row to be able to seem bigger and play bigger.”
Walsh and the freshman definitely made their talent known to Huiet and his staff throughout training camp and early on in the season. Walsh got her first kill over two blockers against Sam Houston, and carried the momentum to the ‘Cats’ second road trip of 2022 in Fort Worth at the Horned Frog Invitational.
Walsh had her first breakout performance against the Horned Frogs, helping the maroon and gold get their 3-1 victory over TCU.
“I’ve said for a long time that Maggie (Walsh) was going to get on the court because she can pass the ball,” head coach Sean Huiet said via Texas State Athletics. “We were struggling trying to find something and I thought she did a great job on the back row, but it was nice to see her finally be able to have the opportunity to take some big swings and get comfortable on the front row as well. She’s going to be a really good player down the line and it’s good to be able to get some reps.”
Walsh played in all four sets while totaling five kills on nine attacks. She also added in two blocks and five digs during the victory.
“When (Coach Huiet) put me in, I felt like I just had to do my job. I’m not normally a starter, but if he puts me in, I know what I have to do. I was getting more confident the longer I was out there in the action, and I was definitely getting more confident, too, the more my teammates were hyping me up and things like that,” Walsh said via Texas State Athletics. “I think what really worked well for me tonight was just the fact that I was talking and communicating more. I feel I play better the more I communicate and just talk with my teammates while out on the floor.”
Maggie kicked off conference play with a bang too, racking up a career-high (not for long) of 12 kills on 20 attacks during Texas State’s first game against the Warhawks. Walsh also totaled 14 digs with a solo block and block assist while accounting for 13.5 points — the third highest amount on the team during the matchup.
Walsh came to San Marcos as a junior in high school and immediately led the Lady Rattlers to back-to-back playoff appearances, leaving one of the most successful legacies San Marcos had seen in decades inside the snake pit. Walsh may only be 16 matches into her career, but the former Rattler is already beginning to build her collegiate legacy in San Marcos as a Bobcat. We’ll just have to keep watching to see where she stacks up in the history books at Texas State when it’s all said and done.