By Gian Louis Thompson | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Flagler College Volleyball team arrived in St. Paul, Minn. Tuesday night for the NCAA Division II Women’s Volleyball Championship.
The Saints will face Dowling College on Dec. 3 at noon (CT) to kick off the tournament.
The team got a break over Thanksgiving after winning the regional championship. The players settled down with their families and contemplated the approaching tournament. What has been going through their heads is anything but comfortable.
“I think we are all anxious to get up here [St. Paul] and start playing,” senior and captain Katie Beale said. “We’re glad to finally be here. We are ready.”
Anxiety hasn’t been an issue for the Saints as of late. Marching onward with a 28-game winning streak, the Saints have learned to play as a single unit and have grown in both individual skill and team confidence.
Head coach Taylor Mott believes that if her team continues to play its game, it will succeed.
“We are going to do the same thing we’ve been doing the rest of the year,” Mott said. “If we do that, it’ll work out for us.”
Mott said that her squad is very excited to be where it is in the national tournament and hopes that it will maintain its confidence.
“They’re [volleyball team] excited,” Mott said. “I think they’re ready. I hope they don’t play nervous because that can be a problem for us.”
The Saints held a short 55-minute practice on Wednesday consisting of non-strenuous hitting and passing to loosen up and fine-tune themselves for Thursday’s match.
With the volleyball postseason encroaching into final exam preparation time, the women have struggled to juggle school and volleyball. Beale said she does her school work in advance to leave time for her game.
“I study every chance I get between matches,” said Beale. “You just have to have good time management to plan everything out or else it’ll all creep up on you. I really just try to do all my work on the weekends.”
Becky Hendrian, also a senior and captain, said that when presented with such a time constraining scenario, there’s no room for procrastination.
“In this situation, we’ve all had to manage our time,” Hendrian said. “We have to do everything beforehand so that we don’t fall behind. No matter how difficult, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Thursday’s match is sure to put forth a challenge to the Saints. Hendrian said she is trying not to worry about the match and shows confidence in herself and her team.
“We have been playing together,” Hendrian said. “We are a well-oiled machine. As long as we do what we have been doing, we will win.”
The team is staying at the Wildwood Lodge Hotel, in Lake Elmo, Minn. just outside of St. Paul. The women said they are provided with a hearty home-style cooked breakfast every morning and a comfortable environment with which to prepare for their matches.