In a world held captive by COVID-19, Westmont’s women’s volleyball returns fired up and in high spirits, ready for a season of growth and good competition.
Undoubtedly, each win comes with a solid support system, namely the huge fan turnout at the recent 3-1 win against Vanguard University from Costa Mesa, California. Last season, COVID-19 did not give much chance for community and connections, making this season all the more valuable for this group of girls. The significance of this support can be answered by Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) Attacker of the Week, second-year Phoebe Minch:
“I would say Jessie [Terlizzi] motivates me the most to move forward because since we play the same position, seeing her kill the ball really well hypes me up and makes me play to that level as well.”
Of equal importance, teams that come together with both chemistry and a common goal are the ones that succeed and play for something outside of themselves. With a combined season total of 710 setting and blocking assists, the players show early promise for connectivity and community. As many new faces join the group after a year and a half of restrictions, the team is bursting at the seams with excitement. Second-year Jessie Terlizzi summed up the short- and long-term goals of Westmont women’s volleyball:
“Short-term goals are for us to mesh more as a team, which is happening with time. Our team is relatively young, so we are still getting used to playing with new people on the court. Long-term would be to return to nationals and take the title.”
Furthermore, spirits have been lifting since NAIA announced in February 2021 that sports would be running at almost normal capacity, returning the restless athletes to their place on the court with reformed and refined mindsets. The new mentality can be seen with 611 kills in the season’s few game openers already. There is over half of a season left, giving our girls enough time to accomplish their goals and work hard, together and individually. A quote by third-year Lexi Malone — the 6’3 middle blocker — speaks for the whole team in describing the way COVID-19 changed her way of thinking, especially as she recovers from an injury:
“Play every game like it’s your last. We never know what to expect, but my team lives by the mindset of giving it your all and I think a lot of that has to do with the tough season we had last year with COVID.”
The women’s next competition will take place on Saturday, Sept. 18, in Surprise, Arizona, as they take on Ottawa University.