Freshmen Kate Goldberg and Daniela Skov got settled in preparation for their interview, Goldberg eagerly asking Skov to sit next to her as they exchanged excited looks. The two freshmen have struck gold twice; not only did they make it on the varsity volleyball team as freshmen, which is not an easy feat, but they made it together.
“Most of the time only one freshman makes varsity,” Goldberg said. “It’s so nice to have someone in your grade who is also one of your best friends making it. It makes it so much easier and so much more fun.”
The team is about half underclassmen and half upperclassmen, varsity volleyball player junior Claire deVroede said.
“It’s usually mostly juniors and seniors on the court,” deVroede said. “Having it half and half is a totally different vibe, but it’s way cooler, I like it.”
The two freshmen have been playing volleyball since fourth grade, and have to play up a year during the club season because they are slightly older than most people in their grade. Both players said that this has been a good thing, as it has challenged them more than playing at their grade level might have.
“We definitely would not have made varsity if we hadn’t played up,” Skov said.
Goldberg, who is the team’s only setter, plays every game and never leaves the court, Skov said.
“[Goldberg] has a really intense role and she’s filling it very well,” deVroede said. “She’s doing such a great job and we’re really proud of her.”
Skov, who is an outside hitter, has proven herself in the past few games and now plays in most of them, Goldberg said.
“[Skov] plays front row and back row and is a super aggressive hitter,” deVroede said. “She’s very good, super talented.”
There are 16 girls on the team and only six positions on the court at a time, so a lot of players end up on the bench for part or most of the game. The upperclassmen, who aren’t used to having this many underclassmen or such a large team, are having to work for their positions on the court more than in the past.
“It’s definitely more of a battle this year,” deVroede said. “All of the young talent is so good.”
The underclassmen are also working hard to keep their spots on the court.
“It’s definitely been more challenging since we have 16 girls on our team, so there’s a lot of pressure to fight for your spot,” Skov said.
The new coach this year, Sarah McClendon, runs the team differently than they are used to, and they have a very large team. There have been conflicts between McClendon and players, deVroede said.
“They can’t play everybody, and the coach, she’s cool, but she’s not the type of coach that we’re all used to,” deVroede said. “But I love the team; it’s cool to have everyone be a lot younger, they’re definitely a lot more optimistic.”
Despite the competition, the two freshmen said that their teammates have all been very nice to them. Skov and Goldberg said that, while it was intimidating at first playing on a team of upperclassmen with more experience, once they got to know their teammates they proved to be very friendly, even if they do make the two freshmen do some of the dirty work, like setting up the nets.
“It really doesn’t seem like there’s any divide between grades and age,” Skov said.