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“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

-Colossians 3:2

 

The Louisville Cardinals volleyball team came into the 2021 season with a chip on their shoulder. Although they had a strong 15-3 year in the previous campaign, many underestimated Louisville and they were overshadowed by the likes of teams such as Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Nebraska. However, the Cardinals got off to a quick start and have since not slowed down. The best beginning to a season in program history, the Cardinals are now 25-0 with a #1 spot in the entire country. On their road to success they have been led by one of their most experienced leaders, Tori Dilfer, who says going to Louisville was all God’s work.

“God moved mountains for me to be at the University of Louisville playing volleyball and everything about this place and this program is an answer to prayer.”

Photo Courtesy of Louisville Athletics
Tori Dilfer has been a star at Louisville, where she has witnessed one of the most magical seasons in program history. The Cardinals setter began her career at TCU, before transferring to Louisville after 2 seasons in Fort Worth. Since getting acclimated to her team and her city, she has helped lead them to their undefeated start. Tori says her faith is what has given her confidence and a renewed outlook on the volleyball court.

“God has used volleyball as a tool to reveal His character and faithfulness to me which has allowed me to see how powerful sports can be and how God is not limited in how He reaches us. I have so much confidence and trust in the Lord because over and over again He has used the game of volleyball to show me that His ways are better than my ways.”

The daughter of former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer, Tori Dilfer was introduced to faith from a young age. However, the Dilfer family experienced tragedy when Tori’s brother passed away at the age of 5. The sudden loss rocked the family, but Tori says they still had faith that God was in control.

“Going through that was when I first saw faith lived out and saw God work in some awesome ways. He provided people in my family’s life that not only were there for us but that pointed us to a comfort so much stronger than anything the world could give us. I saw these people encourage my parents to seek after the Lord like they never had before.”

Tori says now since her years at TCU and coming to Louisville, her faith has only continued to grow and remain the backbone of her career and her life.

Photo Courtesy of Louisville Athletics
“When I am spending time in the Word daily and allowing God to truly rule my life, I am not as easily shaken by a bad game or an injury or any of the tough stuff during a season. This also helps to not get distracted by success or awards or any hype of social media. Colossians 3 tells us to work at everything we do with all our hearts, working for the Lord and not human masters. So, when my eyes are set on the things above, I can remain joyful in any circumstance and humble because I know my talent is from God and for His glory.”

One of the best setters in the sport today, Tori says she has focused on using the game and her skills as an opportunity to point others to Jesus.

“I truly believe that volleyball and faith go hand in hand for me. I believe that if we try to separate our faith and our sport, we are robbing ourselves of seeing how awesome and powerful God is. He works through sports more than I think we often realize and when we allow Him to use our sport for eternal reasons, we see Him in a whole new way.”

With 3 games remaining in the season and a team that is full of confidence and enthusiasm, Tori Dilfer and the Cardinals look to continue building on the success that the 2021 season has brought them. Tori says having a support system of family, teammates, and friends have allowed her to take the court each day focused on impacting someone’s life.

“I think sports are one of the best ways that we learn about life and grow as people and leaders, but I also believe that God gives us athletic ability for kingdom purposes. He desires for us to use our sport to bring glory to His Name and work in such a way that honors Him.”

 

Ethan Kruse

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