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Going From High School Volleyball to Nationals; One Player’s View

Tayler Klassen, Reporter

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As a freshman in college everything is new. New town, new friends, new school. It’s a lot to adjust to. It’s also hard adding a sport on top that. I’ve had to learn not just to adjust to the “new school” aspect of college, but the change of coach, teammates, and style of play. In high school volleyball, I played as a middle. I have played as a middle since about 5th grade. Usually your tallest players are your middles. I am about 5’7 and in college volleyball I am considered short. No big deal. Coach me that I would play on the outside this year. Believe it or not, season is over and I just adjusted to playing as an outside. Despite my changing positions, I still learned a lot about the game and how differently it is played in college and in high school. In high school you show up to summer camps, weight lifting and conditioning everyday in the off season and your coach makes you. In college if you don’t want to work out in the off season you don’t work out. I mean, don’t expect playing time because everyone is literally faster and stronger than you and you could tell which opponents took the off season off and who didn’t.

 

Like I said before, college volleyball is way different than high school volleyball, but I still got a lot out of both. In college you learn a lot about the athlete you are. High school is where you learn to compete. High school is where you find your drive to want to be the best on the court. In college that’s already expected of you. Volleyball at Northeast has been a bumpy ride for the team. Team chemistry and bonding was never an issue for us, but it seemed very hard at the beginning as we tried to put it all together. We would beat teams that were nationally ranked, and then lose to teams who weren’t even close to having as much as talent as we did. It honestly took till the last week of regular season for us to put the big picture together. And we managed to do that for one set. The next three not so much. The next two weeks after that we practiced and prepared for the team we would be playing in regional finals, to make it to the national tournament.

 

In the final round of regionals the number four seed (Northeast) played the number one seed (Kirkwood) and the team who finally put the big picture together showed up, and played amazingly, almost keeping the number one seed under 10 points. But, we only showed up for the first set. The second set we dropped it 19-25, Kirkwood. Then the fire was back. Hawks win the third set 25-22. But the number one seed was not going down without a fight. They came back and won the fourth set 16-25, forcing a fifth set. Not letting go of the big picture, the team comes out of the fifth set with fire and determination. Making history at Northeast Community College, the Hawks win the fifth set 15-7 making them the first volleyball team at Northeast to win regionals back to back and to qualify for the national tournament two years in a row.

Nationals this year was in West Virginia. That brought a new experience to a couple of girls including me, and that would be getting on a plane. Our first flight boarded around 6. So we left campus at about 3 in the morning. More than half the girls on the team pulled an all nighter which in the end, ended up being a really bad idea because by the time we got to the hotel in West Virginia we were falling asleep on tables waiting for our rooms to open up.  

 

Day two of nationals was a lot of fun. Coach sent us to the mall for a couple of hours and the place was huge. It had three floors to it and every store I could think of. Volleyball-wise, we went over to the arena to take a team picture and practice for an hour. Day three, the games started. We played mid afternoon, which in my opinion is the best time to play. And the team that figured out how good they really were showed up to play. It was a five set match and every match was a battle. However, it ended with Northeast being down by two in the fifth set, losing to the number five seed.  This loss was probably the hardest we have had all season. We were two points from being with the top eight in the nation. As that was hard to take, we bounced back on day four with our second game winning in three sets. Little did we know that later that day we would be playing Central Community College out of Columbus. That is ironic because we are an hour from each other and play each other multiple times during regular season. Even though we have played them multiple times, it was Central’s turn to end up on top with a five set win over Northeast.

Overall, we ended up around 11th in the Nation. Which isn’t bad in my eyes. We all left this season with once in a lifetime memories and life lessons that can never be taken away from the 11 of us. We also made amazing friendships and that’s another thing that is great about being on a team. The record on our season was right around .500 but we really proved we belonged at nationals, just as any other team. And I’m really glad I had the chance to represent the Hawks for the 2017 school year.

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The official student newspaper of Northeast Community College.
Going From High School Volleyball to Nationals; One Player’s View