The women’s volleyball team (6-0) is on a six-game win streak after beating the University of Southern Maine (4-4), Gordon College (6-4), Brandeis University (5-3), Maine Maritime (5-4) and sweeping the New England Invitationals in Presque Isle and Boston.
The Polar Bears, who are currently ranked third overall in the NESCAC and eighth in the NCAA DIII Regional Rankings, have started off their season strong. Captain Lisa Sheldon ’19 attributes their success to both the diversity and the passion of the team.
“Our team is so different, our players have different interests and personalities, but at the end of the day, we all come together because we love volleyball,” said Sheldon. “But more importantly, we love our school and the tradition of the program. Once you decide to invest in the program as a whole, the players feel like they get so much out of it in terms of the community and the family aspect that our team shares.”
Head Coach Erin Cady attributes the team’s success thus far to its hard work over the summer. The volleyball team picked up right where it left off last season.
“The dynamic on the team has been great from the get-go, our team has put in a lot of work over the summer and it has been showing in practice,” said Cady.
“In previous seasons we had to have a preseason to get us back into shape,” added Sheldon. “But [this year] everyone took it upon themselves this summer to work hard because we knew our goals this season and stayed in communication over the summer to pursue those goals together.”
In addition to its hard work on and off the court, the women’s volleyball team values tradition and relationships. Cady, entering her fourth season as head coach, focuses on building relationships on the team.
“We are a close team that gets along well,” she said. “Our close relationships off the court help us on the court because we trust one another [and] are able to communicate with one another effectively.”
The volleyball team currently maintains a 15 person roster. The team is able to play six on six, simulating game situations, which has prepared the players for match days. At practice, they are able to mimic other teams very closely. The team has also spent a lot of time watching practice and game videos to learn from their mistakes.
“We are breaking down what we can improve on at an individual level,” said Cady. “We are looking at what we can improve positionally.”
Sheldon points out that a possible challenge the Polar Bears may face this coming season is that other volleyball programs across the region are improving.
“Other schools have gotten new coaches who have changed their programs and made them competitive. As a team, we can’t make wrong conceptions about teams that we’ve beaten in the past. This year everyone is going to be good. As a team, we have to play our best no matter who the competition is.”
The Polar Bears will defend their six-game win streak tonight against Colby (2-3). They will finish off the weekend against Bates (3-1), on Saturday at 2 p.m.