Volleyball took home mixed results this past weekend. The team fell short against Bates and Babson College, but trumped Colby 3-0. As the season passes the halfway point, The Argus sat down with Madeleine Lundburg ’19, one of the team’s key players, to reflect on the team’s past performance and what’s to come.
The Argus: How do you feel the team’s dynamic has been so far, especially when compared to last year?
Madeleine Lundburg: It’s definitely different but in a really positive way. We’re a lot bigger this year, which allows practices to be a lot more dynamic and competitive. It’s fun to have a bigger community that hangs out on and off the court. Then also for games, we have a really deep bench. We have a lot of girls who are really confident and strong players so we know that no matter who we put in, everyone will do their job [and] what needs to be done for the team.
A: How do you feel this new team dynamic has been in your position at outside/opposite hitter?
ML: I think all the outside hitters have been doing really well. [Sarah Swenson ’18] is a junior so she is one of the older girls on the team and has been a really good leader on the court, especially with a team that’s so underclassman-heavy. She keeps her calm and knows how to help everyone focus in. She’s a very constant presence on the court. You know you can give the ball to Swen and she’ll do something smart with it. She really takes on that leadership role and does a really good job with it. And then there’s all the freshman hitters we have like Mia [Hogan ’20], Stasie [Litinsky ’20], and Kailee [Chimento ’20]. The three of them have been doing a really good job. They all hit really hard but have also done a great job of getting accustomed to the speed of college volleyball and getting used to the system that we run. They’ve done a great job of coming into practice and working hard every day.
A: There seems to be a lot of moving around in the lineup as far as who starts…do you have any thoughts on this?
ML: Yeah, we have a lot of strong and smart players, so even if someone has an off day, we have someone who can step in and do what they need to do. It’s not so divided between starters and non-starters. Everyone has an important role in making the team better, whether or not you’re starting.
A: Out of the 18 women on the team, 10 are first-years. What is it like having such a young roster?
ML: The freshman all bring such important things to the team individually, so I think it doesn’t feel so much like the freshman are taking over, because they all bring something so important to the team as individual players. It’s been really awesome getting to know all of them. Everyone has such an important and different role. They’ve all done a great job of getting accustomed to the system and the way that we run practices, so it doesn’t feel we have a bunch of newbies coming in. They’ve been a really important presence on the team and they’re definitely a reason why we are so much better this year than last year. We have this really energetic vibe now at practice.
A: How do you feel about Head Coach Ben Somera?
ML: Ben is definitely intense and he pushes us, but I think that he really has made us so much better and I think that he really knows how to help us focus in and give us what we need to succeed. One of the things he says a lot that we’ve all taken to heart is to discipline ourselves. What he says is, ‘If you do everything I tell you to do, and we lose, that’s on me.’ I really like the way he structures practice because it’s very clear what’s expected of us so we know exactly what we need to do each day when we come into practice, which is really helpful. [Somera] makes obtainable goals such as winning the NESCAC or the Little Three.
A: You mentioned the elevated level of practices this year; what has the team been working on in recent practices?
ML: We’re focused on building habits and focusing on one thing to improve on each game. For example, one game we’ll work on stretching the net and being more disciplined in our blocking game, and then in the next game we’ll work on something else. So when it comes to it at a tournament, we won’t have to be focusing on those little things because they’ll already be ingrained as habits.
A: How does the team feel about how tight the Little Three competition this year?
ML: We’re very excited. One of the big things for us is just believing we can win. I think Williams and Amherst are a lot scarier in name than they are in actuality. Their name carries a lot more weight than the quality of their team, so I think just believing we are as good as we actually are is going to be a big factor in coming to the Little Tournament and really competing. I know we are a great team, it’s just about believing it on the court.