Posted by Paulina Phelps
Sitting down with seniors Carolyn Bottelier, Samantha Friedman, Maureen Mahoney and Mallory Mendelsohn of the volleyball team, I could not have anticipated the enthusiasm and passion the girls would use to talk about their team.
The amount of gratitude the girls expressed for their mentors, however, proved to be the most resonant part of our conversation. In expressing their gratitude, the girls showed me how sports teams really are families and how motivation can come from many different sources.
PP: How is senior year feeling so far? Can you give any advice to soon to be seniors on ways to prepare/what to expect?
All: We didn't anticipate that we would constantly be reminded that this is our last year. We all went abroad, so right before leaving we felt antsy to go and upon coming home, antsy to get back. We all have big projects, like different types of capstones. The great thing about senior year though, is that your academic life is very tailored to what you want at Skidmore; all of the work you are doing is for things you want to be studying. On top of schoolwork, we have one week left of the season, which is also scary.
Senior year is altogether a different feel; you are constantly reminded that the real world looms ahead. It definitely feels like time is flying by.
PP: What positions do you all play?
Maureen: Back row. Player with the first touch whose main responsibilities include digging hard hits from the other side and receiving the serve pass to the setter.
Carolyn: Right side hitter. A high impact hitter on the court who also acts as a setter. It is a very versatile position
Samantha: Libero. The player that stays in the game the entire game [never affected by rotation]. The main responsibility of the libero is to pass the ball well to their teammates so the team can run the offense.
Mallory: Setter. Player that sets up the hitter and calls plays for where the hitter should go.
PP: How would you describe the dynamic of the women's volleyball team at Skidmore?
All: Phenomenal. We started with four seniors, five juniors, three sophomores, and one freshman. This year especially, we are a very tight knit group. Any volleyball team has a very different dynamic than a standard sports team. The team isn't exclusive in that it becomes a "clique." Our coaches Hilda and Jerry are married and are like parents to all of us, which makes for a very close team. They are involved in our lives outside of volleyball but they aren't over involved which is what every kid wants from a parent.
PP: How is the team doing so far this season? How is fall season different from spring?
All: We are doing fantastically. This season we were 27 and 6. We are currently ranked number one in our league and are hosting the league championships the weekend of Nov. 2 which hasn't happened for a few years and is a really big deal!
PP: What do you feel is the team's greatest strength? What do you feel is your greatest strength as a player? What do you feel is your team's greatest weakness?
All: We love each other so much so we want to be there and want to be pushing each other and ourselves. When that mental energy comes it's on. The energy and positivity is contagious and the dynamic we have on the team makes it easy to share that positive cohesion on the team.
Also, our coach Hilda is so driven. We have never met someone with more tenacity than her. She is the strongest woman we know and she pushes us with her presence alone.
Our biggest weakness would be that we've always been a weak team early on in the season, until we are beat by a good team.
PP: How has it been balancing studies as well as athletics?
All: It forces you to time-manage yourself. For example, sacrifices are made on behalf of other extracurricular activities like not singing in an a cappella group.
PP: What do you enjoy to do when you're not in season?
All: Knitting and doing other crafts of sorts! Going to the movies is always nice. Also, hanging out with people we don't get to see during season.
PP: In your opinion does the school support athletics enough?
All: We think sports shouldn't be supported more than any other extracurricular. That said we've been frustrated with the under representation of our team on Skidmore's campus. However, we are very appreciative and gracious to those who have supported the team!
PP: Anything else you would like to say?
All: We would just like to express our gratitude to our coaches. Hilda is so important to us and we are so grateful for all that she has given us!
After the team's final tournament, the Skidmore Volleyball earned its second straight and eighth overall NCAA Division III Tournament bid earlier this month. Skidmore received an at-large bid after falling to Clarkson in the Liberty League Championship match.