Arkansas Volleyball star setter Hannah Hogue grew up a Razorback. Her mom, Cissie, was a cheerleader at Arkansas, and her dad, Gary, played baseball for the Razorbacks as well. It was in Fort Smith she found her love for the game of volleyball and ran with it. After receiving an offer in ninth grade from Arkansas during Head Coach Jason Watson’s first year, she committed with almost zero doubt. “I always wanted to be a Razorback. This was my dream school. Meeting the coaching staff really sealed the deal for me, it all aligned how it needed,” she said.
Hannah attended Ramsey Junior High (now Ramsey Middle School), and then Southside High School, and that’s when things started getting real. She finished her sophomore, junior and senior seasons as a First Team All-State honoree and led Southside to three consecutive conference titles. During her stellar senior season at Southside, she won Arkansas’ Gatorade Player of the Year, was chosen as the best volleyball player in the state and finished as a finalist for Gatorade National Player of the Year, and was nominated as one of the best volleyball players in the country.
While she was one of the most dominant players in all the nation in high school, the transition to college athletics hit Hogue like a ton of bricks. As a freshman, Hannah didn’t play much, and it was an adjustment. “The speed of the game got so much faster. You can’t really prepare for that, the game in high school is naturally slower,” she said. It took her a while to get in the right place mentally, but she notes what her parents told her; “The biggest thing they taught me was to just put my life in God’s hands, and in everything I do to honor him. Don’t worry about the things you can’t control.”
Hannah is now in her junior year at Arkansas, and she hasn’t looked back, or too far forward. “One of our statements is to stay present in the moment. Things can unravel if you look too far ahead, so we try and win the practice, win the next game, then go from there,” she said. The Razorbacks are in the Top 10 in the NCAA RPI rankings at the time this story was written, a program high. They’re seemingly locked in for the NCAA Tournament as well, and because of that, Arkansas fans are starting to take notice. “We’ve always had a good crowd, but this year it’s taken off,” Hannah noted.
Arkansas broke the attendance record for volleyball in Barnhill Arena, at 4,300, against Wisconsin. But the VolleyHogs aren’t brushing any of it off. The crowd, the attention, the big ESPN games, they cherish it all. “We don’t take it for granted. After matches we sign autographs, and in my freshman year we had maybe twenty people, now the line wraps around the building. We see the impact we have, and we don’t take it lightly, we want to be as impactful in these kids’ lives as we can,” Hannah said.
Hannah is now a three-time SEC setter of the week, winning it back-to-back in September, the first Razorback to accomplish the feat. She had tallied up 641 assists as of this writing and is on track for close to 1,000 on the season. Arkansas has just two losses out of sixteen games, and is 4-0 in SEC play so far, giving them the lead in the Southeastern Conference.
With Arkansas turning the corner and now being a top dog in the conference, they have a target on their back, which Hannah embraces. She names LSU and Florida as her favorite road games to play because both their crowds put on a show. “They tend to pack the stadium and I really love that.”
How about a fun fact for Fort Smith & Arkansas athletics? Hannah and Fort Smith native, current OKC Thunder center and Arkansas great Jaylin Williams, played baseball together as kids. Jaylin said they went undefeated, and Hannah added her own story. “We played in the Church League together for two seasons. That was pretty fun. Neither of us could imagine the success we’d have later in life, not even in that sport. We had a scrappy team. We’d get ICEEs after the games. It’s been awesome to see Jaylin’s success watching him at Northside High School and now in the NBA. You think back to something that happened when we were seven, now you look back and say wow, that’s crazy.
With both parents former Razorback athletes, Hannah is carving her own path to greatness. Even with all the success the Razorback Volleyball squad has experienced so far this season, Hannah’s far from done. She’s looking to lead Arkansas to a SEC Championship, and a potential National Championship, and she’s ready to do whatever it takes to get finish the job.
Follow Hannah on Instagram at Hannah.hogue6 and find the UA Volleyball schedule online at arkansasrazorbacks.com. The VolleyHogs play at home November 5, 19, and 22.