Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Homestand vital for struggling volleyball team

Photo by Hannah Bashevkin

While most of the Whitman community was away for the four-day weekend, the Whitman Women’s Volleyball Team was on campus for their first home conference weekend of the season. Halfway through their conference season, the team is finally looking forward to a consistent stream of home games, of which the team has not yet had many. Sitting with a conference record of 4-4, the team has struggled thus far, but the players still have time to improve.

Constant road trips are never beneficial for a team, especially one comprised of college students with other obligations. As the team looks to the coming weeks, five home games in the next six matchups is promising.

“I think it’s been pretty hard on morale, just having to leave every weekend. This [past] weekend is the first full weekend we’ll be at home, so it’s the first full week of school we’ve had. So that’s been a challenge for sure,” said senior Captain Franny Gardner.

Junior Captain Hannah Linsenmayer weighed in on how the coming home games will help her team.

“Even though there’s added pressure at home because people you know are watching, I think it’s hugely comforting to be at home and have success there. So it’s definitely difficult being on the road so much but now we’re home for almost all of October so that’ll be good,” said Linsenmayer, the libero for the team.

Though their home record has been disappointing, Gardner still sees improvement on the horizon.

“It’s still early enough that we can still finish with a really great record, so we’re working for that,” said Gardner.

This is very possible, as the Northwest Conference is notorious for close competition and inconsistent play.

“Our conference is really tricky. Everyone is pretty up and down from game to game, so it goes back and forth a lot. There’s a few ties right now for positions in the standings,” said Linsenmayer. “Because of that, every game is really important.”

In light of their current record, the team has certainly had its fair share of difficulties to overcome this season, mainly their youth combined with a relatively low number of upperclassmen.

“At any one time, we have three, sometimes four first-years on the court so there are some issues with cohesiveness, but their skill has helped them overcome that challenge,” said Gardner.

The frequency of away games has also been an issue specifically for the first-years, as it is something they’ve never had to deal with before.

“It’s tough balancing the time commitments that are required. And the amount of away games so far has also meant more travel than usual, so they’ve had to adjust to that most,” said Gardner.

However, not all is bad with a large, talented group of new athletes, as Head Women’s Volleyball Coach Matt Helm explained.

“The way I see it, these first-years are going to be together for the next four years and already four of them have seen court time and that’s great experience for them. Moving forward, that’s really exciting. Besides four upperclassmen, the whole rest of the team is young with a lot of potential,” said Helm.

Though many of the players on the team started the season with a main goal of winning the conference and going to playoffs, Helm, while still intent on having the best season possible, also has his eyes on the future of the program, and it is certainly bright.

“Going into the season, our main goal was working on the process and not necessarily the end result,” he said. “How are we improving every day, what are we doing on the court, that’s going to help us become an elite team.”. 

“We’re focused on details like serve-receiving and making smart attacking choices,” said Helm. “Our other main goals from the beginning of the season, like winning the conference, have changed a little. We are now looking more to improving our cohesiveness on the court and building the chemistry within our team.”

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