By LINDSAY RUONGRAT
Typically, college varsity sports teams are viewed as being comprised of primarily juniors and seniors. In recent years, however, the UMW women’s varsity volleyball team has included a mix of students who are in their freshman or sophomore year. This has helped to introduce new, fresh players to the team, and created a sense of inclusion for both players and coaches.
Junior Savannah Powers is an outside/right side hitter and was one out of nine freshmen added to the team in 2016.
“As a program, we don’t see each other by what grade we are in but by what each individual can bring to the team. As the first half of our season continues, our starting lineup is heavily made up of upperclassman but a few of our younger players have obtained a starting position as well. With that being said, myself and my team are confident in every player in the program to be able to go out on the court in a given game and do their job,” Powers said.
With upperclassmen making up the majority of the starting lineup, extra steps are taken to ensure newly added players are up to speed for the season, regardless of their class status.
“The most important thing for our freshman is that during our 1-2 weeks of preseason in August we catch them up to the specificities of UMW Volleyball,” said Powers.
The upperclassmen making the new players feel welcome and catching them up to speed has helped this joining of skills to be successful. The preparation and sportsmanship shown by all players, regardless of class, to ensure consistency, has added an a sense of inclusion while also opening the horizon for new talent to be added to the team.
“All of our returning players absolutely love our freshman class. They bring so much fresh energy and positivity to our team. I have enjoyed team bonding and getting to know each of them; as they each have very special and unique personalities and physical attributes that they bring to our team,” said Powers.
This fresh energy and new talent among the team has shown through as the UMW women’s varsity volleyball team tackles the first half of the season. The Eagles celebrated their most recent win this past Saturday, Sept. 15, vs. eighth-ranked Ithaca College putting them at 7-4 for this season.