Due to countless hours of hard work, intense workouts and difficult sacrifices, six freshmen are proud to say they play volleyball for the Red. Of course, the difficult times have just begun because, as part of the team, they have been asked to make another “sacrifice.” That is, head coach Deitre Collins-Parker asked each member of the team to give up one thing that they truly enjoy and would find difficult to do without.
“We all have to give up something for the season to demonstrate our devotion, purpose and discipline to one another and that we are united as a team,” said freshman Alessa Cekauskas.
So now, amidst the stress of playing collegiate volleyball and handling collegiate course loads, these six girls cannot resort to common freshman comforts. Ice cream, chocolate, soda and candy make up the list of temptations these fresh-faced athletes willingly agreed to forgo in exchange for the possibility of something much more rewarding, at least in the long term — an Ivy League championship.
“I decided to give up chocolate,” said freshman Kelly Karmann. “This has been kind of a struggle since it’s not only chocolatey desserts — my protein bar choice is also limited.”
The season hasn’t been all about learning to live without sweet treats. The under and upperclassmen players alike have spent many hours of practice learning to work together and getting used to a new offensive system. Fortunately for the new girls, they were not on the only team struggling to adopt a new style of play. This past weekend, they had the chance to see how far they’ve come and what the team still needs to work on.
“I think this weekend our team learned a lot about ourselves,” said freshman Erin McCarthy. “We learned that when we play well, we can compete with anybody. We also learned that we need to make adjustments quicker during the game and we learned some areas that we need to improve on, but overall, I believe that the weekend was a success.”
Freshmen Katie Marshall and Erin McCarthy started throughout the competition this weekend, and not only did they survive their first four games, they excelled. Marshall and McCarthy each had 43 kills this weekend and were instrumental in helping the Red to win two of its four games.
“It was a good learning experience for not only me but the entire team,” Marshall said. “But I would like to improve on my back row play and on being more consistent with my hitting.”
Outside of volleyball, the girls have been adjusting to life at Cornell like the rest of their peers. Despite all six players living in different buildings all over North Campus, they have become a very tight knit class and enjoy spending time off the court with each other and the rest of their teammates.
“We are pretty much from all over and definitely have distinct personalities, but I think we balance each other out and we get along really well,” said freshman Jennifer Keane. “I am looking forward to spending four years with them!”