The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Volleyball set for season success

Olivia Fromm '17 spikes the ball against Iowa Wesleyan University at Tuesday's home game.
Olivia Fromm ’17 spikes the ball against Iowa Wesleyan University at Tuesday’s home game.

By Louise Carhart

The Grinnell women’s volleyball team is off to a promising start this season, as they extended their three game win streak this past Tuesday against Iowa Wesleyan. Handily winning the game 3-0, the team remains optimistic that the mental changes they’ve made this season will continue to guide them to favorable outcomes.

“We all had a full day of class and a full day of Grinnell life and a night of the crazy Iowa storm,” said Christine Hood ’17, a defensive specialist (DS) Libero and starter for the team. “We came out swinging.”

While still in the early stages, the team is readying for a tournament in Rock Island, Ill. that promises to give more insight into what the rest of the season will look like. As of right now, the team is impressed with the progress they’ve made over the summer and hopes their early success will continue as they begin to play conference matches.

“I think there’s better chemistry, we seem to be more cooperative and more willing to work which has made a huge improvement,” said Emma Willhardt ’19, a middle blocker for the team.

Over the summer, the team followed a summer lifting program that included running and agility workouts to help ease the transition from time off to preseason. These plans were especially valuable this year as preseason was shorter and the team was playing tournament games relatively early. Thankfully, the combination of summer workouts, preseason and a cohesive team has worked in their favor.

“We’re all about the goal setting. Every day we go to practice, and we have to set individual goals and write them on a chalkboard so we’re held accountable to them,” said Deanna Taylor ’18, a DS for the team. “At the beginning of the year we set goals as a team, which we’re crushing honestly.”

This adherence to goals and the understanding of the expectations put on every player has resulted in a team that feels confident in their ability to prepare and play to the best of their ability. Having graduated three players last year and starting four seniors this year, it is also a team that is experienced with each other.

“We like to study our opponents through film, [and] through stats so we come in prepared knowing what’s going to work, what’s not,” Taylor said. 

The preparation before games is crucial to the team’s success and marks a change from previous years when it may not have been as emphasized.

“That was part of why we started off slow [last year] I think, was that it took us so long to adapt that we spent the entire first set of a match learning what was happening on the other side of the court,” Willhardt said. “This year we’ve been able to come out and just know where we need to be set up on the court, exactly where we need to hit.”

Despite these technical advantages, the team sees the majority of their success coming from a shift in mentality from past years. For Hood, time abroad changed how she viewed not only her place on the volleyball team, but also as a Grinnell student.

“As a volleyball player, I’ve evolved a lot. When you take a break from the volleyball atmosphere and the Grinnell atmosphere, you realize how much you love it and how much more you appreciate it than you did before,” Hood said.

This appreciation seems to have permeated the rest of the team, as they begin to prepare for their first conference game against Cornell College on Sept. 28 and look beyond to what will hopefully be a successful season.

“There’s been a marked change from last year to this year already. We’ve already won more this year than we di last year so that’s fantastic, and I think that we’re set up much better to continue that momentum and to continue working hard,” Willhardt said.

The team will play this coming weekend in Rock Island, Ill. and at home again on Oct. 1 against Ripon College.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *