Volleyball’s season finished this Friday in a playoff match against Amherst. The Cards lost in three sets but nevertheless finished the season with a 15-8 record, marking a major improvement over the previous season’s record, 5-15.
Head Coach Ben Somera brought in his first year of recruits this season who proved to be a deadly force on the court. Many of the first-years quickly took over key positions on the team, forming a first-year-saturated lineup that tackled top NESCAC rivals such as Middlebury, Hamilton, and Williams. The Argus sat down with one of these rookies, Stasie Litinsky ’20, to review the season.
The Argus: How did you feel about working with Head Coach Ben Somera this season?
Stasie Litinsky: Ben is a great coach. He cares a lot about the team and about winning which is actually really important in a coach. He’s very strategic and really knew what each of his players needs to work on and accomplish to do well. He helped us all individually and as a team. I think with it just being his second year, he’s shown the program a lot of improvement and it shows in the way that we’ve improved so much this season.
A: From a first-year’s perspective, how do you feel the season went?
ST: I thought that we became a very cohesive team very quickly. I think that the returners actually were able to handle us very well. Even if we took some of their spots, they really worked with us. It’s just about being a team, especially with the captains. They’ve done a lot for this team this season. Even just coming off the court after you’ve messed up, they’ll come up to you to encourage you and remind you that the game is still going. Being a freshman, you know, it’s kind of hard because you’re coming into this new environment, especially in a fall sport where we’re the first ones to start playing. It’s kind of nerve-wracking since we’re not used to the crowd, so it’s nice to have those returning players helping us out. We all really get along and have gotten to love each other so much, which is what I think made our team so strong this year.
A: How do you feel your position group as an outside hitter came together this season?
ST: Every single one of our outside hitters is really strong and can all get the ball down really easily. I would say we all have specific quirks that make us the players that we are. For example, Kailee [Chimento ’20]’s approach allows her to get up high and really hit the ball hard while Madeleine [Lundberg ’19] is a really smart player with a very high volleyball IQ and can strategically figure out where to put the ball. And it’s things like this that really make it easier for Coach Ben to know what player needs to go in at what time of the game to be most effective. For example if they keep getting our tips, he’ll put in a hard hitter so that we can get the ball down instead of having them pick up all the easy balls.
A: What do you think were the highlights of the season?
ST: The Williams game. I would say that game was one of the top two games in my entire life. It was a turning point for us where we knew we could be that team that Coach Ben has always seen in us. Even though we were two sets down we were able to come back and beat them by just two points. We have a saying that we “need to turn the the corner” and we felt like that was a time we did turn the corner into being the team we knew we could be.
A: Do you have any final thoughts on the season?
ST: I think that this is a start. I think that next season we have a huge chance of winning the championship and going to NCAA. The team knows how to stick together and we are really going to help the incoming freshman next year just like the returners did for us. [Somera] is recruiting a lot again and I think that with new players we can just go really far next year, and I think that in the years to come, we’ll be in the top of the NESCAC conference.
A: How does the whole team feel going into next season?
ST: I think we’re already ready. We have an idea of what we want to achieve, and we’re already thinking about what teams we want to beat and how we’re going to work to get there.