Women’s volleyball team makes history with youth

Libby Arnosti

Photo Credit: Parrish
Photo Credit: Parrish

There are no captains this year on Whitman College’s women’s volleyball team, but players argue that there has been no loss of leadership. If anything, each team member has taken on more responsibility than ever.

“Nobody has come up as being on top,” says sophomore defensive specialist Hannah Holloran. “Everybody is responsible for themselves and for the whole team.”

Corie Brewer, a sophomore middle blocker, describes the team dynamic as one of a “leadership council,” rather than a system based on seniority.

Never before has Whitman had a volleyball team so young: just five freshmen and six sophomores make up the team’s entire roster. Despite their youth, the team is already proving to be strong. They defeated University of Puget Sound, the 2009 Northwest Conference runner-up, at the Whitman Invitational in their first game of the season on Sept. 4. Whitman ended in second place overall in the tournament, defeated by last year’s conference champions, Pacific Lutheran University.

The weekend of Sept. 11-12, the women headed south to the Cal-Lu-Fornia Invitational, hosted by California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, Calif. This annual tournament provided them with the unique opportunity to play against teams outside of the Northwest Conference, like those of nationally-ranked University of La Verne and University of Redlands.

Although the Missionaries lost to both teams, the women finished the weekend strong–winning their final match against Pomona-Pitzer of the Claremont Colleges.

Despite perceived challenges, the players remain confident in their ability to perform well as a new team.

“The level of intensity is uniform throughout the team,” says sophomore outside hitter Carrie Cecil. “The freshmen are amazing.”

This year’s recruiting class includes outside hitters Becca Gotz and Jillian Davis, opposite hitter Maddy Bell and setters Rachel Cline and Taylor Aschenbrenner. Cecil likens a setter’s responsibilities to those of “a quarterback in football,” and emphasizes her excitement at having two new setters on the team this year. The general feeling about the season seems to be nothing but positive.

“[The women] are pumped to play the University of Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran University again,” says Gotz.

These upcoming matches are scheduled for this   weekend, Sept. 17 and 18. Upcoming games include two home games against Whitworth University and George Fox University on the weekend of Sept. 22.

Photo Credit: Parrish
Photo Credit: Parrish