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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Volleyball’s Winstreak

The Grinnell women’s volleyball team has done well so far this season, currently holding an .833 win percentage. This past weekend saw some ups and downs for the team starting and ending with losses against the College of St. Scholastica and Wartburg College. In between, however, the team snagged a win against Concordia College. “We’re really working on having a growth mindset,” says Kaylin Kuhn ’21. “After a loss we talk about, like, this was a great learning opportunity and what can we do in the next game to better ourselves?”

Kuhn is in her third year playing volleyball for Grinnell now and has seen some changes that give her hope for the future of the program. “Watching the program develop here has been awesome,” she says. “In past years we’ve always come in feeling like we’re a bit of the underdogs.” This year, their attitudes have changed. “I think we just came in with this mindset that we are this really good team.”

This mentality is what the team calls a “growth mindset,” a strategy taught by Coach Eric Ragan’s brother in several workshops the team has attended this season. Trevor Ragan is the founder of Train Ugly, a program that provides training to “[get] better at learning,” according to Julianna Roth ’22. She says the program really emphasizes “stepping out of your comfort zone, making mistakes, being aggressive, always playing our game and sticking to our core values, which are working hard, being good teammates, [and] letting it rip.”

With a growth mindset, “losses are almost better for you, because you can figure out what you did wrong and eventually figure out what you can do to win the next game,” says Kuhn.

The loss against St. Scholastica felt big. Before this past weekend, the team boasted a 9-0 win-loss record. “We were playing like we had something to lose,” says Roth. “I think we were too focused on the outcome and we weren’t focused on what we can control … I think we were all playing a little nervous and not trusting each other as well.”

In between games, Coach Ragan reminded the team that they “played a very good team. We went to this tournament to be challenged,” says Roth. “Coach did a good job of giving us perspective and bringing us back down to who are we as a program, who are we as a team, and not who are we in terms of another team.”

Both Kuhn and Roth feel confident in the direction the team is growing. “We’re a pretty young team,” says Roth. “I think that we bring in that young energy … that level of competition.”

“Every year we’re improving,” says Kuhn. “We’re not the underdogs anymore.”

Payton Lowrey prepares to receive the ball while competing this past weekend. Contributed.
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