The gym resounds with the slap of hands on the floor as Providence’s team of 14 celebrates an ace. The fourth in a row, to be exact. For a team who recently lost their two star players to the realm of college, Providence volleyball seems to be doing just fine. In fact, several players, parents, and coaches have remarked that the volleyball team is more than just fine this year; with the two previous stars gone, it leaves more room for others to shine. And by others, I mean the entire team of 14.
Providence’s volleyball is unique in that it is 14 strong–not two, or six, or seven. Coach Lindsey Elliott makes it clear that every player is crucial to the success of the team. While a team may be able to get through a season depending on one star player or even a solid starting six, when it comes to playoff time, the team will collapse unless they have a deeper bench. This season, the Providence team is focused on being comfortable playing with different people and learning to trust each other on the court. Coach Elliott has said that we, as a team, will fail if we don’t trust each other, if we get caught up in comparing our abilities to those of another.
Having people on the bench you know you can depend on, while giving encouragement and energy, is crucial to the success of our team. As a player who has been both on the bench and starting on the court, I can honestly say Providence volleyball is unique in this regard. Bench players are just as important to the integrity of the team as those who begin the game standing at the net. Providence’s volleyball program does an outstanding job of developing every player and letting everyone have a chance to play, while still setting a standard that says you have to earn your spot, you have to try, and you have to show a willingness to listen and learn; it’s the attitude that really counts.
Winning is important, as we are trying to cultivate a “sports culture” at Providence, but winning isn’t everything. What’s more important is bonding as a team, learning to be a team, and growing through every defeat and victory. Volleyball is about strengthening character and being role models on and off the court. Whether it’s team bonding over a hike in the rain, or lifting up a prayer for injured senior Captain Reyna Lacalli, the volleyball team is 14 strong and a testimony to all that Providence stands for. We love each other, support each other, play emotionally, and play to win. Our team is so in sync that one of the parents said our team looks like we’re performing a ballet on the court, because everyone moves in time to a seemingly choreographed routine.
A great part of being on the volleyball team is that you really get to know the new people and freshmen better than you would otherwise. We’re all like sisters, and every season we add a few new ones. Volleyball is one of the best memories I’ll take away from my Providence experience. Regardless of how we do this season, I know I’ll make great memories, better friends, and learn some life lessons along the way.