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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 enters conference with steam, energy

Fall is upon us, with the days getting shorter, trees getting barer and classes picking up. This can only mean one thing—the Grinnell Women’s Volleyball Team is starting their Conference play.  On Saturday at noon, the Pioneers kick off their first Conference match against Lake Forest College.

The team is coming off a weekend tournament at Macalester College where they finished 2-2, losing the first two matches on Friday by the same, score 0-3 to Macalester and Carleton College, and then winning both matches Saturday 3-1 against Waldorf College and Concordia College.

When looking at the losses on Friday, the team stressed the difficulty that they faced waking up at seven for a five hour bus ride and then being expected to play soon after they got off the bus.

“You could tell looking at the court that we weren’t as energized as normal, we were tired, we had just taken a long bus ride while our opponents all had only an hour or less to travel,” said Liz Davis ’11.

After a disappointing opening day, during which the team wasn’t running on all cylinders, the Pioneers were ready to go Saturday morning.

“The message on Saturday morning was that it doesn’t take a quantum leap to get better, that we just needed to focus on getting a little bit better and staying steady,” said Claire Reeder ’11.

Coach Jackie Hutchison stressed to the team the importance of their emotional state and that mentally they all needed to be on the same page. Hutchison was pleased with how the team responded and she believes it is a testament to how coachable this team has proven to be.

“I challenged the team to consider what we could become over night, we couldn’t become better players over night, but we could get to a better place emotionally, where we were all on same page,” Hutchison said.

The team was also looking at the games on Saturday as a means for ridding themselves of the frustrations they had after the first day of the tournament.

“Saturday we were much more fresh, and many of us were frustrated with what had happened on Friday, so it seemed like we came in with more of a passion,” Davis said.
For motivation and focus, the team approached the match on Saturday with the goal of reaching points incrementally.

“When we play teams that are really difficult we tend to overcompensate if we’re making too many errors, it’s about keeping our pace and play consistent,” Davis said.
Up until this point in the season all games except for a 3-0 win against Lawrence have been non-conference games. With their record standing at 6-5, the Pioneers are pleased with how they have faired in a competitive non-conference schedule and are looking to carry that success over to conference games.

“I think our preseason gave us the opportunity to play teams that really challenged us and pushed us to bring our skill level up,” said Michelle Briggs ’13.

The Pioneers are well aware of the difference between conference and non-conference games, and with their first conference games this weekend they will look to bring a little extra. “There’s a fire in them, and they know there is a difference between playing conference games versus non-conference. It’s fun to beat Macalester, but we would rather beat teams like Lake Forest and Beloit,” Hutchison said.

This Saturday, the Pioneers will face off against Lake Forest, a team composed entirely of first- and second-years, making their skill level difficult to anticipate.

“They seem to be a little volatile, if they’re on their game then they play good, but if they are not they spin out of control,” Hutchison said.

As for the 2 p.m. game on Sunday at Illinois College, the team is focusing on the importance of winning road conference games, as last season the team lost all of these matches.

“In practice today [Hutchison] came in and was like, ‘This game is serious, we need to win this,’ and that was a great way for us to start thinking,” Briggs said.

Both games are equally important in terms of the team’s ultimate goal this year, which is to host and win Conference. And with their talent, motivation and most importantly, depth, the Pioneers are certainly within reach of that goal. “Last year we had a team that looked to a couple of positions where we expected scoring,” Hutchison said. “But this year we have so much talent and I think this will surprise a lot of teams.”

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