Womens’s volleyball opens season strong at home


Evan Hein

Ella O’Neill `25 prepares to spike the ball against Marian University. Grinnell won the match in four sets.

Eleanor Corbin, Staff Writer

The 2022-23 Grinnell women’s volleyball team came out of the gate swinging, winning three of four games at the tournament held on campus the weekend of Sept. 2. This tournament marks the beginning of their season of competition. With several players graduating last year, the team hopes these wins are indicative of a successful season ahead.

The captain group, comprised of Emily Brewer `24, Jenna Keller `24, Julianna Vajda `24, and Rachel Woock `23, stressed the importance of both team bonding and communication while rebuilding their team. 

 “We redefined team culture in the spring and really tried to build off of it in the fall,” said Brewer. 

The team also utilized practices to play matches against one another to simulate competition. The game-like conditions allowed the team to go into this tournament totally prepared.

“We’re competitive and we have a lot of fun,” said Woock.

This tournament is the first time the team has gone against another college in a scored competition. Where the players got to know each other’s styles in practice, playing against unknown opponents brings far more surprises, the captains said. 

The team’s sense of competition keeps them strong though. When asked how real games are different than scrimmages, Keller jokingly replied, “more bloodlust.”

And more bloodlust indeed! The team’s determination came through in their playing as they dived to save every ball they could. Even when they lost a volley, they refused to let the ball hit the ground easily. 

They won their first game against Marian University in four sets. Despite losing the first point to a stray bump, they quickly brought it back, ending that set with a score of 25-18. At one point, Nicole Miynski `26 spiked the ball with such force that it squarely hit the center of the other court before any of the other players could move towards it. 

The following two games against Saint Mary’s University and Concordia College ended similarly, with the pioneers snatching a victory in the fifth set. The last set of the Concordia College game was neck and neck until a timeout at the score of 12-12 followed by a quick point from Keller, who turned the tide to end the set in a 20-18 victory. 

The team’s only loss of the weekend came in their final game against Greenville University, winning only one out of four sets. 

The team’s only goal of the weekend was not victory, but to play hard and make an impactful season debut. From the captains’ point of view, the team certainly accomplished that. As they walked off the court sweaty and out of breath, they couldn’t help but smile and speak proudly about their team’s performance. 

“I don’t think we’ve ever done this well at our first tournament,” says Keller. “We were really coming together as a team and playing together.”