Next in a series highlighting TCU student-athletes who are now Think NIL Ambassadors.
KillerFrogs wants you to get to know some of TCU’s student-athletes before the 2022-23 seasons begin. KillerFrogs is a partner of Think NIL, a TCU collective. Think NIL’s mission states that they are “committed to finding and creating Name, Image, and Likeness opportunities for all TCU student-athletes.” They recently announced eight new Ambassadors, many of whom we will be profiling as a result of their partnership with KillerFrogs.
Taylor Raiola is a 6’0″ outside hitter (OH) on the TCU Women’s Volleyball team. In her first two years, she’s proven impressive on the court and is looking to lead her team to a great season when it starts August 26 versus No. 1 Wisconsin.
Here achievements speak for themselves. Just last year, she played in 22 matches and started in 19. She delivered 202 kills, second most on the team, for a career-best 2.89 kills/set. She was one of just three undergraduates in the Big 12 to achieve over 200 kills. Against Baylor, specifically, she set a career high with 22 kills against Baylor (11/13), the second most by a Horned Frog against a Top 10 opponent in program history.
It was this game against Baylor that Raiola considers the high point of her career: “The high point of my athletic career at TCU was my sophomore year when the volleyball team played Baylor in November. We had an electric crowd and the game was insanely competitive .”
Miss Raiola, majoring in Youth Advocacy and Educational Studies, with a view to earn a Masters in Social Work, is optimistic and forthright about her values, which is one of the reasons she feels at home at TCU. When asked what accomplishment she is most proud of, athletic or not, her response reveals a lot of what makes both Ms. Raiola and TCU special and well-matched: “I am honestly most proud of the community that I have built around me. Since coming to TCU, I have made some amazing friendships and relationships that I know will last a lifetime. I also love that I am not restricted to my community being only my volleyball team. I can branch out and build relationships with classmates, professors, coaches, and even administration!”
As to why she chose TCU, she is equally sanguine in her estimation of the school and community: “TCU has always been a dream school for me. I love the campus, the people, the facilities, and of course I love that I can live out my dream of playing Division One volleyball in a very competitive conference and continue to pursue what I love outside of the volleyball gym!”
Although Miss Raiola was born in Kailua, Oahu, and spent some time in Michigan, she considers Scottsdale, Arizona, where she graduated high school, home. She comes from a family of five, and when it comes to athletic ability it would seem they hit the genetic jackpot. Her mother, Yvonne, and father, Dominic, who have been married for 18 years, boast a rich past of athletic success. Yvonne played Division One water polo at the University of Hawaii. Dominic played college football at the University of Nebraska and spent 14 years in the NFL with the Detroit Lions. She has two younger brothers, Dylan, 17 years old, and Dayton, who is 14. They attend Chandler High School in Arizona. Dylan has committed to playing football for Ohio State University. Dayton, meanwhile, is a freshman. They have three dogs, Papi, a one-year-old Chihuahua-Jack Russell mix, and Gunner and Mahina, five-year-old Vizslas.
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Surprisingly, growing up, Miss Raiola was slow to discover her athletic abilities. She was “a girly girl” who “didn’t want anything to do with sports but my parents wouldn’t take that for an answer. I played soccer, basketball, tennis, swimming, and water polo. I didn’t necessarily like any of those sports and never really found them enjoyable, but I instantly fell in love with volleyball for some reason.”
Less surprisingly, she and her mother share a close relationship. When asked who her childhood hero was, Ms. Raiola does not hesitate to name Yvonne: “This may sound cheesy, but my childhood hero would probably have to be my mom. My mom is probably the most selfless person I know and she is constantly putting our family before her own needs. My mom is one of my best friends and she has laid out an amazing example of what it means, to me at least, to be a woman and has shown me time and time again what the true meaning of strength and perseverance is.”
Relative to the fact that she has lived all over the United States, Miss Raiola is very complimentary of Fort Worth: “My favorite thing about Fort Worth is the loyalty this community has to TCU. I love walking around the neighborhoods and meeting all the elderly couples or TCU alumni. In a way, it makes me feel safe, and makes Fort Worth feel even more like home.” Her favorite restaurant is Doc B’s in Clearfork, particularly appreciating its “wide variety;” it’s where she and her mother go most often when in Fort Worth together.
Miss Raiola has taken her mother’s self-sacrifice to heart. Ultimately she intends to be a Child and Family social worker.
During the course of her career, Taylor Raiola has proved one of the most impressive members of the women’s volleyball team. Here are some of her accomplishments:
- 202 kills
- 150 digs
- Five double doubles
- 18 kill, 22 dig performance against Oklahoma
- 22 kills against Baylor
About Think NIL
Think NIL is a Fort Worth-based, fully staffed TCU collective led by a TCU Neeley School of Business Alumni and experienced Media & Entertainment Executive & Serial Entrepreneur, in addition to a former TCU Athletics administrative veteran.
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