Women’s volleyball split in Hampton Inn Crusader Classic

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First-year Stephanie Blair posted 51 assists against Saint Vincent.
Photo courtesy of David Sinclair, via GCC&M

By Peter Hailey, Staff Writer

After splitting their four games in the Hampton Inn Crusader Classic, with wins over Misericordia and conference opponent Dickinson and losses to Saint Vincent and Susquehanna, the Gettysburg women’s volleyball team now stands at an impressive 6-3 record overall.

Seems like a pretty good start to the season, right? Well, while most teams would be content with how things have gone so far, it is clear that the Bullets are not close to being satisfied.

“I do wish the Classic had gone better, but it was a great learning experience for everyone and it gave us things to work towards,” said junior right-side hitter Joosje Grevers.

Grevers and first-year setter Stephanie Blair were named to the All-Tourna- ment team for their eye opening production over the team’s four matches. Blair, like Grevers, enjoyed the experience, but also feels there are much bigger things to come for her team.

“I think the tournament went well. Could it have gone better? Of course. We didn’t win all of our games. Therefore, we obviously could have done better.”

This hungry attitude is one that will serve the team well, as the squad features zero returning seniors and is heavy on young players (over half the roster consists of freshmen and sophomores). But if the start of the season is any indication, the competitiveness and desire to achieve more displayed by Grevers, Blair, and others will put to rest any worries over the lack of experience being a detrimental factor.

“We have a very young team but they’re very pre- pared and they came in ready to go,” said Head Coach Leah Bernier. ““We don’t have any seniors this year, so that has forced our upperclassmen to step up into a different role very quickly.”

As one of the team’s stars, Grevers, an All-Centennial Conference Honorable Mention last year, is an upperclassman that takes much of the responsibility of being a leader on her shoulders. It’s a role she welcomes, though.

“I want the new girls to feel like they can rely on me and come to me about anything. It’s so important.”

Of the team’s six first-years, Blair is one that has really stood out. The transition from high school athlete to college athlete is difficult, but Blair has handled it well. However, connecting back to the common theme that permeates throughout this team, its coaches and its players, she remains desperate to get better with each passing day.

“There was a whole new offense I had to learn in a very short time and my whole team was depending on me,” she said. “Consistency is big with setters and even now I am still trying to work on my consistency. I definitely get frustrated a lot because I am somewhat of a perfectionist and I feel like I have high expectations to live up to, but once I start playing all of those thoughts go away.”

The mature and forward thinking attitude is one that is passed down onto the players by their coach. Head Coach Bernier possesses a passion for the game that stems from having played it in college and coaching year round. She demands that each player treat practice like it is a game and puts the team through mental challenges each day. Blair indicates that the team responds very well to such coaching.

“Coach is very big on mentality. She wants us to be the most mentally tough team in the conference. She’s not afraid to tell us when our mentality sucks.”

The Bullets’ next four games are against Rowan, Shenandoah, and Elizabeth- town twice. After that, they open up conference play on September 20th with a match against Ursinus.

Head Coach Bernier feels her team is prepared, and preaches to them to take the season one game at a time. If they do that, then the sky is the limit for this young, spirited team.

“The girls are really focused on taking each individual skill and perfecting what they need to do on the court in order to reach the bigger goals down the road. Our goal…is to win a conference championship.”

 

 

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Author: Isabel Gibson Penrose

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