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The Blue & Gray Press | December 17, 2017

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High school to college transition made easier for UMW volleyball players

High school to college transition made easier for UMW volleyball players

By EMILY GROTTLE

After four years in a familiar high school setting, freshman year of college can be an intimidating new adventure for many students. However, for the three starting freshman volleyball players Savannah Powers, Rachel Voketaitis and Skyler Sisk, college volleyball has only increased their love of the sport.

Powers, Voketaitis and Sisk all played volleyball for their high school teams and were scouted early on. “I knew I was going to play for Mary Washington since the beginning of my junior year,” said Powers, who also noted her appreciation for playing for a Division III school. “I really like that they want you to focus on school work, because you’re not being paid to play. Everyone playing wants to be there.”

However this has very little impact on their positive attitude and love for the sport. “I always knew I was going to Mary Washington,” Voketaitis said. “I committed myself to the team spring of my junior year of high school, so I was able to build a relationship with the coaches and the girls before I started here.”

Voketatits went to Loudon County High school, where her volleyball team won states five years in a row. “Everyone was committed to play in college, which only furthered my desire to play at Mary Washington,” Voketatitis said.

Like all academic teams at Mary Washington, the women’s volleyball team has academic standards which each player has to meet. The team makes sure each player has an average GPA of 3.3 and the team goes to study hall daily. “It really helps with time management,” Voketatitis said.

The academic standard is not the only thing different from high school. “The level of play was always much slower in high school,” Sisk said. “College is a lot faster pace compared to high school,” Powers said. All girls appreciate how fast the level of play is in college as compared to high school. Powers went to Fairfax High School, where according to her, there were “really only three girls on my team that were committed for college,” she said, exclaiming that because of this she really loves the fast pace of college volleyball.

Sisk went to Battlefield High School, where in her senior year the volleyball team won their conference championship. This not only helped her confidence playing in college, but helped her continue to learn how to lead in college.

Because the three girls went to high schools in the same area, they were all on the same club team. “We have been playing together since we were 15,” Voketatits said, which aids in the chemistry between themselves and the rest of the team.

The three girls all agree that their team has great chemistry. “The upperclassmen have always made us feel that we’re the same as them and we’re part of the same team,” Voketatitis said. “We’re one big happy family,” Sisk said.

The team does have excellent chemistry on the court and their talents show through. The volleyball team was in Atlanta this past weekend where they were excited to show their talent and hard work. The team went 3-1 over the weekend, with the only loss being their first of the season, and at the hands of the No. 9 team in the country, Emory. Powers, Vokeatitis and Sisk hope that they can lengthen the team’s run into the NCAA Tournament, which last year’s team participated in.

“The coach scouted all of us so we all play really well together,” Powers said. Even though the transition from high school to college can be rough, these three students were lucky enough to find a home at Mary Washington through volleyball. This speaks volumes about the sports teams at UMW, as we can only hope all teams have this kind of chemistry.