Volleyball foresees bright future with solid first-year class, strong leadership

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Sylvie Luiten

Last year, the women’s volleyball team was the youngest in the Northwest Conference (NWC).  This year, the team hopes to use their experience to emphasize strong team leadership and focus on their goals.

“The junior class has matured into the system, the juniors know what’s expected of them, and they are learning how to be good leaders,” says Coach Carolyn Papineau.

“The leadership dynamic is all around the court, the focus is on everyone knowing what their role is in making the team better,” says sophomore Becca Gotz.    “Instead of having captains we have a leadership committee. There’s a captain from each grade and it helps spread the leadership around.”

This year’s recruiting class has brought in six new freshmen who have already bought into the atmosphere of Whitman volleyball. Each one brings something new to the team. A few standouts have already made a splash on the team.

“Samantha ‘Sam’ Cahill is a strong offensive threat, and a skilled, six rotation player who will be playing both opposite and outside.    Jazmin Moledina comes from a high level club program in California and has worked herself into a starting position currently on the outside,” says Coach Papineau.

The women are excited about their prospects this year and aim to rise in prominence in the NWC. They intend to push the skills they developed last year as a budding team.

“Our strong serving and blocking should help us to reach our goal of competing for a top spot in the conference,” says Coach Papineau.

The Colorado Classic, from Sept. 9-10, is the first great challenge for the team, giving them an opportunity to test their preseason efforts. The team has plans for exactly how they will be able to reach their season goal of excelling at this year’s NWC championships.

“We would like to raise the bar in practice intensity. We want to start the season out well, which should help bring the necessary momentum in order to reach our goals,” says Coach Papineau.