As the semester is coming to a close, the Muhlenberg women’s volleyball team has been making the most out of a difficult and different season. With a majority of the team studying remotely, the team has been figuring out ways to stay connected with each other and with the sport.
For Christina Dalton ‘24, living on campus and connecting with the rest of her team has been rewarding. She has been making friends through her team Zoom calls and practicing more with her coaches one on one.
“The team has Zoom calls every Friday, and we’ll be paired up with another team member to come up with a fun team activity to do virtually. Some of the calls we just played fun games. There were other calls that were more relaxing, making sure everyone’s mental health is in check,” said Dalton.
Head Coach Amanda Krampf has also tried to find ways to keep the team active. She and the rest of the coaching staff have been able to host intimate practices with those on-campus. These sessions have allowed the new players to form bonds with coaches.
“You get to know the coaches better and build a bond with them and this is something that can be difficult to do in-season,” Dalton said. “In the beginning, there were only four of us and it gave us a chance to get used to a new environment together and build better chemistry with each other.”
Using these small group practices, Dalton and the rest of the freshman living on-campus are able to develop bonds with their new coaches.
For Julia Ficon ‘24, the past semester has been one of growth. Living on campus, Ficon has found that these practices and Zoom calls have also been helping her form stronger bonds with her teammates as well as coaches.
“It is very helpful to be working with the coaches on a much smaller scale and it allows for much more individualized aid,” said Ficon. “The coaches have been stressing doing the little things correctly, and then the big things will come along with them. I have learned a lot of discipline from the coaches; they have taught me to be mentally tough while pushing myself physically.”
She has found that keeping in touch with her team has been beneficial towards forming important relationships. “It is very difficult to connect with each other in these times, but the volleyball program has made an incredible effort to keep us as connected as possible. The efforts of the staff make it obvious that team camaraderie is a foundation of the program. I don’t really feel like everyone is going their [own ways]; after each lift or practice, we always make an effort to eat dinner together,” said Ficon.
Being a first year student, this experience is all new to her. She said, “Overall, the experience has been very eye opening to me about the Muhlenberg community.”
With her final year almost halfway through, Maya Illovsky ‘21 has been taking the semester to mentally prepare for athletic activities to hopefully resume in the spring.
“Right now, I think I can say I have been mentally and physically preparing myself for competition again in the spring,” Illovsky said. “I think your game play is reflective of where your mind is.”
Illovsky believes that taking care of yourself mentally could lead to an extraordinary spring season. “Doing the little things and self care whether it be with exercise, spending time outside, going for runs, and just staying on top of school or making a routine has been really helpful. I also think all [of] these little things are very crucial for a successful spring season.”
Illovsky has commended her coaching staff for creating ways to connect the upperclassmen with freshmen. “This year, we are doing a mentor-mentee type of thing where each upperclassman has had the opportunity to be there for a specific freshman, especially in the beginning of the year when the assimilation to campus or even Zoom school life was difficult.” she said.
Looking back at the Fall semester, all three teammates agree that the steps they have taken will eventually lead to a successful and hopeful spring season.