Swarthmore students cannot remember a time that Swarthmore’s volleyball team did not have a winning record, both in and out of conference. For the last three falls, the student body can count on Volleyball to dominate their competition and provide exciting matches. Last fall the team set a new program record by making it all the way to the Elite Eight after beating Johns Hopkins in the Sweet Sixteen to win the NCAA Regionals. This victory was made even sweeter because Swarthmore had lost to Johns Hopkins a week prior in the Centennial Conference Championship. Many on campus were watching and cheering along as Swarthmore volleyball edged out Johns Hopkins in a 3-2 victory that won them the NCAA Regionals and got them into the Elite Eight for the first time.
Even after such a historic season last year, and losing five instrumental seniors, Swarthmore volleyball has come out this season stronger than ever. They began their season 4-0, which is a feat they have not done since 2005. Currently, after playing eight non-conference games, they have a record of 7-1 improving from their last year record of 4-4. With conference play right around the corner, starting this Saturday at Dickinson, Swarthmore volleyball hopes to continue the momentum they have built these past few weeks and bring that drive into conference play with the hopes of once again setting new program records.
With preseason behind them and the necessary adjustments made to compensate for the loss of last year’s seniors, Swarthmore volleyball seem to be well on their way for another year in the record books. Belle Andrews ’20 gave insight into how her team has adjusted.
“Losing five seniors can feel like a lot at first but we’ve become closer as a team and the current senior class is doing an excellent job leadership-wise on and off the court. The team as a whole has had to step up in different ways but we’ve welcomed these new challenges and hope to continue improving as the season progresses,” said Andrews.
Their current roster of twelve, a noticeable decrease from last year’s roster of seventeen, has allowed the team to utilize all of their talent. Three seniors currently lead the team: Guin Mesh, Emily Kibby, and Sarah Girard. These seniors have each made stellar contributions as leaders and players both on and off the court. Recently, Girard became Swarthmore’s all-time leader in digs with 1,585 on her career. She accomplished this feat only two games into her senior year, showing what an extraordinary player she is, as well as making one wonder how many all-time career digs she will get in her final season. Girard has not focused on her own records but instead is looking forward to this season, especially after their incredible season last year. When asked about current team goals for the season Girard responded with:
“After such an amazing season last year, one of the things we’ve really been focusing on is being in the present. We know it would be a dangerous mindset to continuously focus on our success from last year and forget that this season could be just as successful if we put in the work.”
The team’s current mindset of being in the moment seems to be working favorably for volleyball, allowing them to dominate most of their competition so far. While they have not yet played any conference games, their hard work and continued focus should be enough to support their goal of having another extremely successful conference season. Andrews expressed her thoughts on how their current 7-1 record going into conference play has affected her team’s confidence.
“We are very excited about our first conference match. We’ve worked so hard over preseason and in these first few weeks, which definitely shows in our current record. We are ready to put in the work this week and play hard on Saturday.”
Swarthmore’s volleyball team continues to shine; their hard work and commitment to their sport can be seen in both their record and their general excitement for each game. Although their first conference game is away, you can catch them playing Ursinus in Tarble Pavilion at 7p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18th.