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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 playing for Conference Tournament

With a new head coach and only three incoming freshman, the Grinnell Volleyball team underwent significant changes this year, seemingly for the better. The Pioneers have already achieved two more wins than last year with 11 games left this year.

Their win on Tuesday against fellow conference member Monmouth added to their record to make it 9-12. After winning the first game, the team lost games two and three of the set, but the women pulled through to win the final two games and thus the match.

“We knew we could beat them, because we’d done it before,” Head Coach Jackie Hutchison said. “It was just a matter of coming out and doing that.”

One thing contributing to this ability to maintain their focus and win difficult games like Tuesday’s is the increased sense of togetherness the team feels this year. 

“I think in general we’re a lot more cohesive,” Olivia Wilks ’12 said. 

This camaraderie contributed to more team communication.

“Our mental focus is really showing through this year,” Claire Reeder ’11 said. “We’ve been communicating well, which is a very mature team dynamic.”

Hutchison credits the senior women, Caroline Bailey, Carlie Beach, Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff and Caitlin Helerline for a considerable portion of this team unity. 

“They provide incredible leadership both on and off the court and keep everyone inspired,” Hutchison said. 

Although few in number, the first years have also contributed to the team’s success. 

“The first years this year are an example of how, as one person grows, the entire team grows,” Hutchison said. 

“They’re so confident and willing to play wherever needed,” Wilks said.

Reeder, Wilks and Hutchison all emphasized the contribution of each member to the team’s overall success, however. 

“It is apparent to me that all of the women on the team have gotten here because of their hard work,” Hutchison said. “I see my role as a way to get them to see that bringing out the best in yourself brings out the best in someone else.” 

All members of the team participate in the games, whether their role is to play on the court or to keep the players pumped up from the sidelines. 

“Whether you’re on the court or on the bench, you’re just as much a part of the team,” Wilks said.  

Four teams from the conference get to attend these Midwest Conference Championships on Nov. 6-7. The women have been preparing for this tournament all season. 

“From day one, we have been visualizing ourselves in the conference meet and that’s really been our guiding goal,” Reeder said. 

Based on the team’s season so far, Hutchison has high hopes for the conference tournament. 

“The championship is a completely achievable goal,” Hutchinson said.

The team hopes to use their two home games this weekend to continue to bolster their record. The women play Ripon College at 7 p.m. on Friday and Carroll College at 1 p.m.

“The X-factor in our games is so much being at home, and I think that’s a credit to everyone here,” Reeder said. 

The team’s record at home is 6-4. Both of these upcoming games are conference games, which will help to decide whether or not Grinnell will have a top four spot in the conference and attend the championships. 

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