There is no doubt that the Red (4-12, 2-4 Ivy) has played better volleyball this year than previous seasons and as much as credit has gone to the younger, maturing talent on the team, the leadership at the top has been an equal contributor to the team’s improved play. Co-captains senior Erin McCarthy and junior Meagan Tatum have led the team both on and off the court to push the team this season.
With the majority of the team composed of juniors and sophomores, the two captains have many players to pass their knowledge of the game on to. To make sure the growing process for the maturing players goes smoothly, the role of mentorship from the captains has been a huge factor this season.
At this point in the season, the captains are mostly in charge of keeping the team focused to help everyone play to their full potential. Recently, McCarthy has been displaying her leadership by making plays on the court — leading the team in kills the past two games with 16 against Brown and six against Syracuse.
“Right now, we are focusing on figuring out how to motivate the team and keep them consistent from day to day,” McCarthy said. “On the court, we try to reinforce their roles both emotionally and technically. We make sure people are doing what they need to be doing.”
Tatum leads a little differently as she has more of an impact on the team off the court.
“I take on more of an emotional leader role by trying to get everyone excited and bringing the energy,” Tatum said. “One of the captain’s jobs is to relate to people. I try to help people and motivate them since I can relate with them and help them perform their best.”
Both captains do acknowledge that their jobs are easier because the players all have a bond with each other. The captains reinforce these relationships and help translate them onto the court so that the team can execute better.
“We focus on getting to know each other better so we can relate to each other on the court,” McCarthy said.
“We play our best when we play through each other,” Tatum said. “Not every team has that. We try to keep that energy going throughout the game.”
Just as the team has changed under the two captains, they too have been affected by their roles on the team. From the day they were announced as captains, McCarthy and Tatum knew what a huge task it would be for them.
“It was definitely a shock,” Tatum said. “Juniors usually aren’t captains.”
McCarthy was not as surprised when first discovering she was a captain, but understood the leadership responsibilities of holding the position.
“It was kind of a natural transition, since the leaders graduate each year,” McCarthy said. “We just needed the underclassman leaders to step up into the captain role.”
Even for the captains, the season has been a new experience as they have also learned and grown as leaders of the team.
“It forces you to focus on more than just your game,” McCarthy said. “When two of us are responsible for the whole team, it widens our focus to the whole team and not just ourselves.”
Original Author: Wankyu Lee