c/o Sophia Lindus

c/o Sophia Lindus

In Play(er) of the Week, we seek to highlight Wesleyan athletes or parts of games that deserve extra attention. Sophia Lindus ’26 is an outside hitter on the Wesleyan volleyball team. Lindus helped lead her team to a 24–4 record as well as the NESCAC Championship Finals and the 2nd round of the Division III Volleyball Tournament this past season. She was recognized for her amazing season by winning both NESCAC Rookie of the Year and NESCAC Player of the Year, becoming the first Cardinal to earn both awards in the same year. On top of this, she was also named Second Team All-American in Division III Volleyball for her strong contributions to the team. This past week, The Argus sat down with her to discuss the season and her hopes for the future.

A: Can you introduce yourself?

SL: I’m Sophia Lindus, I’m a freshman from Los Angeles, California.

A: When did you first start playing volleyball?

SL: From second to fourth grade I played basketball, just recreationally with some of my friends, and then the level started ramping up a lot more and the girls got more physical and I hated it. So then in fourth grade, my elementary school had a club [volleyball] team, because Los Angeles [is like the] Mecca of volleyball. So then in fourth grade, I started my school’s team and I was like, ‘This is great.’ I’ve always had a pretty good vertical so that really helped me and I was like, ‘Oh all of my athletic skills can be played in volleyball, this is awesome.’ And as the years progressed, I started doing club volleyball and I’ve been playing ever since.

A: What about volleyball do you love? And what would you say the hardest part of the sport is?

SL: I love that it’s a team sport. When I was playing basketball, you control where the ball goes a lot more than in volleyball. In volleyball, you can try to control but at some point, the ball’s gonna go where the ball wants to go, and everyone has to be ready to contribute. I love how when you go into a tournament, you get really anxious by yourself, but then immediately once you’re with your teammates you’re like, ‘It’s not all on me,’ there are other people on the court with me. The camaraderie and energy on the team is something that I really enjoy.

Something that’s hard about it is because it’s a team sport, everyone has to contribute. If you mess up you might take it a little bit too hard and feel like an entire loss was on you, but at the same time, it’s not just your fault. It’s a team sport, win or lose, and you just have to take it as it comes.

A: That’s a good answer because everyone has to touch the ball. You never know where it’s gonna go.

SL: Exactly. You get three touches max, so you don’t know where it’s gonna go and our coach Nancy always jokes, ‘The person who’s least ready to play the ball will be the one who has to play the ball.’ So you always have to be on your toes.

A: Why did you choose the Wesleyan Volleyball program?

SL: I loved the DIII experience. I thought that it was a great mix of being a student and an athlete. I’m not gonna play professional volleyball, but I love the sport so much and I love the level that we’re playing it at now. I wanted to find a place that could suit me academically and athletically

A: I want to talk a little bit about the awards you got at the end of the season. First, you had NESCAC Player of the Year and then Rookie of the Year, which makes you only the second player in the history of the conference to win both, and I’m assuming that probably means you’re the first person from Wesleyan to do that. How did it feel to get that?

SL: So surreal. You come on the team as a freshman, leaving high school as a senior, you’re like ‘I’m the big man on campus,’ but then you come here and you’re like ‘Wow, I’m a freshman again,’ I’m at the bottom of the food chain. And to be able to play on the team and be able to make all these friendships with these girls, and compete in something that I love to compete in for a school that I love, is so incredible to do, and then these awards were the cherry on top for a great season. 

A: And then you made Second Team All-American. So that makes you the first ever freshman from Wesleyan, and only the fourth Cardinal ever to earn that, so a similar question: how did that feel for that to come out?

SL: That again was just insane!  It was just so, so, so cool. It’s giving me more motivation for next season. I wanna get stronger, I wanna hit harder, I wanna jump higher, I wanna play more physical on the team, just to get those awards again and then keep improving.

A: I  want to ask how do you feel this season went so far for you as a team, and maybe as an individual?

SL: I think that we started out really strong. We had a great record, I think we were 13–0, and then, unfortunately, we did lose to Tufts in the championship match of the NESCAC Tournament which sucked. I think that that was a mental barrier that we couldn’t really get around going into the NCAA tournament the weekend after. It’s hard because, especially when you’re on a high for so long, you kind of always expect to win at some point.

When we lost, everyone was like, ‘Okay this is what we need to work out, this is what we need to practice,’ and we did get progressively better over time, but at the end of the season I think that we were all so tired physically and mentally that it was hard to overcome that loss to Tufts. I think that the chemistry on the team was great, the connections between each position were working out really well, and we were all devoted to the sport and to the season, but for next season, I definitely think that the mental challenge is something that we need to overcome. 

A: A lot of times, athletes talk about [how] when a team has such a great season, a lot of teams come back and they feel like they have something to prove, so you have all eyes on you.

SL: Exactly, and Grace Bell, she’s one of our senior captains, was like, ‘Words of advice for next season: lose a game early in the season so that you understand what it’s like to feel that pain, and then wanna work harder.’ I also think you’re totally right. We’re the first seed, [so] all these teams are out for blood. There’s nothing that they can lose, but there’s something that we can lose, and that definitely put a lot of added pressure on us.

A: How did that feel to compete in the NCAA DIII tournament?

SL: That was great! I think it was a Monday or something like that, and immediately once the announcers said our names we were all texting ‘Oh my god! We’re going to NCAAs! This is crazy!’ Then the entire group chat was blowing up. But it was great. There’s still more to prove. Even though we lost the NESCAC Championship there’s a National Championship in our midst.

A: Do you have a favorite moment from the season so far? It could be during a game, not during a game, in practice?

SL: I think one of my favorite games this season was when we played Southwestern Texas University. It was a four set match, and the last point of the play, I remember it was a long rally. The ball comes back over to our side. KG Morton ’24, our middle, gets a touch block, Denny (Grace Dennis ’23), our center, is at the net, just gets a one-handed up, Jenna Otaola ’22 MA ’23, our libero, sets it to me and I hit the ball cross-court, and immediately my hands go up and I’m just so happy that we got it done! And then the entire crowd was just going crazy. Something about Wes that’s different than my high school is that there’s so much school spirit. People watching the games will show up in theme, will come up to us after and be like, ‘When’s your next game, I wanna come watch!’ and how collaborative the community is is really special.

A: I think volleyball in particular is very popular here, and it’s one of the most fun sports here to watch, because it’s such an intense game and everyone’s so excited to be there.

SL:  Something that’s different from other sports is that volleyball is such a fast-paced game, so it’s a really good spectator sport to watch.  You can kind of come in at any point and still see action, versus in other sports where it’s just longer periods, longer rallies, it’s harder to stay engaged the entire time, but for volleyball, it lasts eight seconds, boom, next set.

A: How have you enjoyed your freshman year here at Wesleyan? 

SL: I’ve loved it. I think that everyone here has their own niche, which is really fun to see when you get to know people better. The first week it’s just [about] meeting as many people as you can, and then after a while you start to find your really close friends. Now I feel like I know them really well, and they know me really well. It’s not a competitive atmosphere in the sense that you don’t wanna tear other people down. 

Something that’s so different about Wes is how close you can be with people in other grades. I have a lot of friends that are sophomores, juniors, seniors, and it’s nice to see them in Usdan or at a party over the weekend, or just walking from class to class. And I also think because it’s so small, you get a sense of normalcy in your routine when you see the same people that you pass by every day.

A: What are some things you’re looking forward to in the coming season and the coming years, where you have so much time ahead?

SL: I’m excited to build what we’ve done this season and what we’ve done this season. We’ve narrowed down the strategy that we have on the team, and obviously, that can always change, but I think that we all understand what our role is, and because of that we can all get better collectively. Next season we’re all gonna get closer and more united and work towards this NESCAC Championship. This being the second year in a row that we’ve gotten second in the NESCAC tournament that is definitely going motivate us a lot more to try to rewrite those wrongs and avenge those losses.


Ethan Lee can be reached at ejlee@wesleyan.edu.

Erin Byerly can be reached at ebyerly@wesleyan.edu


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