When did you first start playing volleyball?
I started playing when I went to clinics when I was 10. I started playing competitively when I was 11. In high school, I played for my school team in the fall and then club was in the spring and summer.
What was your recruiting process like?
I started e-mailing coaches a[s] sophomore in high school. I reached out to a bunch, but it wasn’t until junior year when my friends started committing to schools, so I tried to get pretty serious about deciding. I knew I wanted a really academic environment and school, so that was important. There’s a big tournament the summer of your junior year — so going into your senior year — and that’s when a lot of college coaches decide who they want. At the end of that, I still didn’t have an offer and didn’t know where to go, so I continued talking to Coach [Christi] Kelsey, the volleyball coach here. I visited over Labor Day weekend and committed in late September of my senior year in high school.
What has it been like being a captain this year?
It has been awesome. It’s more work than you think, in a good way. It’s more than just being named captain; you put a lot of work into getting your teammates’ respect and your coaches’ respect. Our coach grooms all of the players to be leaders every year, but being a captain this year certainly has been a step up from that. I was a co-captain with my teammate Caitie Bennell ’17, who is the other senior on the team. Together, we were awesome and it worked really well. We had two seniors, we were both captains, and then we had no junior class. I was worried there was going to be a gap between the seniors and then everyone else or the two upperclassmen and everyone else, but that really wasn’t the case because the sophomore class really stepped up. It was really seamless.
What is it like leading a small team with a roster of around 10 (healthy) people?
Having a small team is really fun because you are so tight with them. We call it our volleyball family in that we know everyone so well. We go to practice, then we go to team dinner and then probably we go to the library together. No one gets left out certainly because there’s no room to leave anyone out.
I hear that the team just finished its post-season play. How does this year compare to other years?
It was our worst finish in my four years on the team, but I think that just speaks to the incredible success we’ve had in the past. In the last four years, we’ve won two NESCAC Championships, we went to the Elite Eight one year, we made three NCAAs berths. This year, we really fell short of capturing that NESCAC title or even making it to the Finals, but I’ll just reiterate that this group was something special in that we were a family, we overcame so much adversity throughout the season, including injuries, and stuck together, got better everyday and every week, did some really amazing things against some tough teams and ultimately just had a tough showing in our Quarterfinal Game.
What are some of your favorite team traditions?
Before the game, we try to make up new traditions every year. When the 60-minute warm-up clock starts, we have 10 minutes in the locker room before our coaches come in to give our pre-game speech, so we try and use those 10 minutes creatively. This year, we did a really cool synchronized dance. My favorite one that we’ve done every year is that right at the end of warm-ups, we go in and change into our jerseys and we give a couple quick words to each other, and we say a cheer and then we pound on our lockers. I’ve used that as a chance to get all the anxiety out and to get into this exciting mode.
What is the hardest part about being a captain?
My team was a really emotional team in that we had some really high highs and some really low lows and I felt that my job was to try and keep us at this steady but confident level of let’s keep moving forward. One of the hardest things that I knew I’d have to do is kind of manage the emotions and try and keep us looking towards volleyball success.
What will you miss about being on the team?
I think I’ll miss game day and that excitement of getting to compete. About the team, I’m going to miss having teammates. Teammates are just something special in that they’ll have your back no matter what in that their goals are the same as yours and they want you to succeed because if you succeed then they will succeed, et cetera. I’ll miss my teammates.
What is your favorite snackbar order?
Barbecue nachos. Double cheese.
Shout out to my co-captain Caitie Bennell. I couldn’t have done it without her. We were seriously a great team.