Women’s Volleyball Trip Inspires Team Connectivity, Confidence

Miguel Baza, Sports Reporter

Despite a lack of seniors, the women’s volleyball team stepped up to snag a few sets during the Depauw Tigers Invitational in Indianapolis, Indiana, this past weekend. While they couldn’t put enough sets together to win a match against Aurora University, Westminster College, Depauw University or Alma College, they came back with a lot of motivation and inspiration as they head into conference games. 

Many of these athletes understand that balancing academics and their sport is sometimes very difficult to manage — even more so when on the road. Junior captain and Environmental Studies-Biology major Claire McCarthy, sophomore BBMB major Emma Anderson and first-year art major Megan Suka are familiar with this stressor. 

”Sometimes it is difficult to find times when to have meals, do homework, train and hang out with friends,” Anderson said. 

Anderson explained what it takes to deal with managing time. 

 “Heavy communication with professors and being able to email them when we are going to be gone. It is also a lot of time management, knowing what times I have available to do school work and other things I need to do,” Anderson said. “But I am more productive during the season.”

As a first-year athlete, Suka has begun to learn how to balance athletics and academics and always knows she can count on her teammates. 

“Balancing schoolwork and volleyball is definitely challenging,” Suka said. “But volleyball becomes an escape and I look forward to seeing my teammates every day.” 

Her experience has been full of emotions and lots of learning. The team is confident knowing they can always count on each other on and off the court.  

 McCarthy cares about both academics and athletics, always trying to set her team up for success. The team has set many goals, but one that stood out the most to McCarthy was having a cumulative 3.3 GPA as a team. 

“My role is to always cheer my team on and not to tell them what to do but give them that support and encouragement,” McCarthy said. “Always be there for the stressors in their lives.”

What McCarthy appreciates the most about her team is their respect for one another, the team’s chemistry and her teammates’ competitive nature. Although the trip might have felt long and entailed a lot of traveling, she still came back with some highlights. 

“It was awesome to see the first-years grow in confidence from the first match to the last match,” McCarthy said. “They have a huge role on the team.”

Anderson added that every player brings something different to the table. 

“A lot of the upperclassmen have stepped up and become leaders this year,” she said. 

Suka said that her favorite part of the trip was spending a lot of time with the entire team.

 “It was a lot of team bonding and learning about each other,” Suka said. “We really mesh together very well. We are all different people.”

”They are awesome and are like a new family to me,” she added. “It makes it more comfortable for me to come to school.”

The team’s positivity is helping many of these athletes’ confidence grow and become great leaders on and off the court.