Phins’ Volleyball Off to Great Start

lemoynedolphins.com

lemoynedolphins.com

 

This past weekend, the women’s volleyball team traveled to Wilmington, Del. for the Wildcat Regional Invitational. For the second straight week they finished 3-1, after going 3-1 in the Long Island Invitational the week prior.  

On Friday, the Dolphins split their two games, losing to Bloomfield College in three sets and defeating Holy Family University 3-1. On Saturday, they won both games: 3-0 against the host Wilmington University and 3-1 against Chestnut Hill College.  

I sat down with captains Natalie Casson, Kendall Corcoran and Andrea Buchanan to discuss the way the team has started the season, and what they’re looking to accomplish this year. Throughout the interview, the message was pretty clear: reaching regionals and the NCAA’s.

The captains explained how their overall mindset as a team comes from their determination to accomplish their goals throughout the 2016 season. Head coach Lizzie Cheek and all 15 of her players keep one specific thing in the back of their minds: the memory of not receiving a bid to NCAA regionals last year. Every day they stress the importance of practicing, playing and competing as a family. As a result, they truly believe that their talent, experience and camaraderie will take them into the postseason; which they hope will include NCAA tournament competition. Throughout the past three years this group has improved their regional ranking, and they don’t see why they can’t make that improvement again.

The Dolphins only lost one senior, which gives them an advantage going into the season.

”With the loss of one senior and the addition of three new freshman, our team is extremely close. And not every team can say that they are a close knit family and I think it really comes to our advantage when we need to dig deep against tough opponents,” said Corcoran. “I think that’s what made us so successful last year and will continue to make us a stronger team this year.”

The Dolphins have proved so far this season that they are an even stronger team than last season. Casson notes that although they’re off to a great start, it’s important to stay true to their game and adapt when need be.

”After these past few weekends and last year’s success, we’re certainly going to be on the radar. We will continue to adapt and surprise our opponents, but, even more so, we need to stay true to ourselves and our game,” she said. “It is such a privilege for me to play volleyball with these girls every single day. I see how hard we work and how much potential we have. We just need to continue to push each other, and when things get tough, know there is an entire team and school behind us.”

After speaking with the upperclassmen captions and also underclassmen such as sophomore Jessica Miller, who averaged over 11 kills this past weekend, it’s clear this team embodies the “Inside the L” mentality.  As a freshman last year, Miller had to deal with not only a new environment but adjust to a quicker game and style of play.

“The biggest adjustment of freshman year was adjusting to the speed of college volleyball,” she said. “This year I feel a little more ahead of the game, running new, faster plays where last year I kind of had to play catch up. The girls have been great along the way, we’re all there for each other and I can’t wait to see what this season will bring.”

As a senior, Buchanan also understands how quickly the game can go and how easy it is to get lost in the craziness of a season. ”I think the biggest realization for me was that we are very lucky to be able to play this game every day, so my mentality going into every practice or game is to just take advantage of the moment,” she explained.

This is certainly going to be a special year for the Dolphins, who play this season in the new, renovated Henninger Athletic Center.

“It will be not only a great addition for our team but for many of the athletic programs who get the opportunity to play there,” said Corcoran. “I think that it will drive more students to our games, which will increase the fan base for all of our teams at Le Moyne. And with a larger fan base, there’s that much more motivation to represent your fellow peers and all of Le Moyne.”

The Dolphins will take on Edinboro University of Pennsylvania this Friday. Make sure to mark your calendar for their first official home game in the new Henninger Athletic Center on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m.