“I think it was a really big change for me, especially just because of the really different cultures from Hawaii and the East Coast, but I feel like the seniors are our sisters, they’re family,” Zeng said. “I can definitely ask them any questions or open up to them.”
To all of the freshmen, however, college life as a student-athlete is a totally different experience that takes some getting used to.
“It’s a little intimidating, especially going to other D-1 gyms, but it’s a challenge that I’m starting to adapt to,” Mabry said.
Mabry, even with her impressive 121 kills and 143 points on the season, obviously is not alone in her experiences of early playing time in a daunting freshman year.
“For me initially, the nerves are there,” Zeng said. “My first year of college volleyball, this is different from back home. But the team keeps you feeling comfortable and well-supported throughout the matches.”
As Vach said, “It’s a change, but it’s not so big of a change that you feel so out of place.”
The results of the season are not only the result of team chemistry, bonding, and mentorship. In the gym, the squad has put in tremendous amounts of work that is quickly paying dividends.
“I personally focus on challenging everyone as much as I can, whether that’s with my own play or just any tips and tricks during the game,” captain Christina Cornelius explained. “I just really see all the potential in people and try to bring that out during by making sure that everyone is giving each other good feedback and really motivating each other to do the best that they can.”
Gray, who got her first start last week, described the excitement of competing in these important games.
“I got a few blocks off the bat, and it was just overall a good feeling, and I’m excited for more of that,” Gray said.
Playing down the stretch, leadership on such a young team will be key to sustaining high-level play capable of making a run at the championship. In order to do so, these freshmen can learn a lot while filling their important roles by continually looking to the seniors for guidance, encouragement, and teaching.
This ability for such a young team to adjust and develop bodes well for the Crimson. Following last year, Harvard was determined to improve.
“We are kind of bouncing back from a tougher season last year,” admitted Sigurdson.
Harvard has profited greatly from the development of its young team, greatly improving upon last year’s performance.
By playing well down the stretch, the Crimson can use its momentum to carry it to compete for the Ivy League title. With its promising young stars, however, the team is undoubtedly in good hands.
Kebe explained, “It’ll definitely be very sad, but I’m ready to pass on this great legacy of our team to the younger ones and see where they’re able to take it.”
If this season is any indication of the outlook of Harvard volleyball, the future is very bright.