Although the season is only three games old, the volleyball team has already received big contributions from its youngest players. On a young team featuring only two seniors, the underclassmen will be huge factors if the squad is to succeed this season.
Even from looking at the first three games last weekend at home, what stands out from the box scores is that Cornell often used more players than its opponents. The Red put 13 players on the court against Siena’s nine in the first game, 15 players against Saint Francis’ 10 in the second game, and 11 players against Lamar’s 11 in the long last game. These games provided opportunities to see glimpses of what each player can contribute to the team.
“We have a wide variety of players on our team,” said junior Kelly Hansen. “We’d like to utilize this versatility within the team to generate success.”
The team is outnumbered by under-termers with a current team composition of two seniors, five juniors, six sophomores and six freshmen. Although the upper-termers took the spotlight in terms of stats and playing time over the weekend, some freshmen like Kelly Marble, Rachel d’Epagnier and Janel Forte were able to log key minutes. In particular, these freshmen were able to get their first taste of competition over the weekend and showcase their talents.
“The freshmen are doing a spectacular job,” said junior Jordan Reeder. “They are a very strong class and they came ready to play.”
It would seem surprising for the freshmen to come in and start producing immediately, but they have adapted to the team quickly.
“They’ve done a good job buying into the culture and identity of our team,” Hansen said. “During spring training and preseason workouts, they had the opportunity to learn it.”
The younger players also seem to have injected some energy into the team and have contributed part of their respective personalities to the team identity.
“They’ve come on and have added to the personality of the team and our style of play,” Reeder said.
“We’re all confident and very competitive,” said freshman Kelly Marble. “Our class in general brings that attitude to the team and we’re just all trying to help out.”
Not only have the freshmen adapted well to the team on the court, but they have also bonded well with the girls off the court.
“It feels like I’ve already known [these girls] for a long time,” Marble said. “They are a great group of girls and adapting to the new atmosphere has been very easy.”
Not everything has been easy for the new Cornell athletes, though. They are still young in their college careers and are learning to adapt to college life.
“It’s been challenging regarding time management,” Marble said. “It was especially challenging during Orientation Week when we had to balance time between activities and practices.”
In particular, the level of commitment has changed in this new environment.
“Personally, although my high school was competitive, college is another level of commitment,” Marble said. “Everyone here is so much more committed and focused.”
Despite everything, though, the freshmen are still enjoying every moment.
“I’m loving it,” Marble said. “Although it may get challenging in the future, I’m having a blast.”
Original Author: Wankyu Lee