Women's Volleyball Team
The young women on the Queens volleyball team are strong athletes who trained long and hard to earn their regular season Conference Champions title. Yet, the women aren't focused solely on smashing school records for assists, aces, or blocks - all of which they did.
"There is so much more to it," said senior Sarah Malpass. Some of the fans at games are young girls, noted the interior design major from Gainesville, Fla. "I want to be someone those girls look up to because I'm talented on the court, but also because of the person I am."
Four years ago, the team was 7-23 overall, with a 2-14 conference record. The column of those larger numbers has flipped. This year, the team won the first Conference Championship in school history with a 14-2 conference record.
Coach Lettie Wilkes, in her second season at the helm, credits the players' dedication and determination. "We just kept pushing."
It's easier to motivate to push that hard when the team is so close-knit, said senior Tori Hernandez, an organizational communication major from Gainesville, Fla. "With multiple coaching switches, crazy seasons, workouts, and 6 a.m. [practices], it's impossible not to be as close as we are."
Sarah agreed. "We all pushed each other to make each other better...Not only do we play to win, but we play for each other. We're like sisters off the court. I think that has really helped with our motivation and work ethic this season."
That work ethic extends off the court, too. The team does community service together, and always has grade checks as a team. "My goal is to be that team on campus that everyone looks to and says 'Wow, that's a good group,'" said Wilkes. "Those moral characteristics that you look for in life, that's what we want to mold our kids to have."