Freshman Rebekah Cazares is averaging 1.83 digs per set for VCU this season.

Freshman Rebekah Cazares is averaging 1.83 digs per set for VCU this season.

RICHMOND, Va. – Rebekah Cazares can do more than dig a few volleyballs. She can also sing a few bars.

On Tuesday, Cazares, a freshman defensive specialist on the VCU Volleyball team, surprised coaches, teammates and fans when she stepped to the microphone to sing the National Anthem prior to the Rams’ match with William & Mary. After belting out a few notes, Cazares recorded eight digs to help the Rams belt the Tribe 3-1.

“I sing all the time around [my teammates],” but I don’t know if they knew I could actually sing.”

It wasn’t a fluke. Cazares is a trained singer who took voice lessons and also participated in musicals, as well as choir, in high school. In choir, she regularly sang in state competitions. Last year, her high school received several ‘1’ scores – the highest possible – at States. She was also in a production of the musical “Little Shop of Horrors”. A special education major, she’s considering minoring in music.

A few weeks ago, Cazares, a soprano, approached VCU’s marketing staff about singing the National Anthem at one of the Rams’ matches. She was originally scheduled to perform on Nov. 3, when VCU meets Rhode Island. But Tuesday, when the scheduled anthem singer backed out, Cazares stepped into the role and won a round of applause, not to mention some praise on Twitter.

Despite her experience, Cazares admits she had some butterflies.

“Yeah, my voice was a little shaky,” she says. “It’s always a little nerve-racking at first.”

Cazares’ parents, Michael and Catherine, are VCU alums who met while singing in a choir and were in attendance, along with Becca’s 94-year-old grandmother, at Tuesday’s match.

“No one knew I was going to do that last night. It was kind of last minute,” she says. “[My grandma] was happy. My parents, too. They were surprised. Their faces were funny.”

If you’re interested in an encore performance, have no fear. Cazares is still scheduled to perform the National Anthem at VCU’s Nov. 3 match. She says some people were suggesting on Twitter that she sing at a men’s basketball game, but she says that’s a little premature.

“I was like, whoa, that’s a lot of people. Maybe,” Cazares said. captured Cazares in action and has the video (Cazares’ anthem begins at the 3:34 mark).