Women’s volleyball team looks to spike its way into UCSC history
It’s a cool October night, but inside the West Field House the temperature is high. The gym echoes with the sounds of yells and the squeaks of shoes on its hardwood floor. This is where the UC Santa Cruz women’s volleyball team conducts its practices, plays its home games and hones its skills.
Coach Selene Teitelbaum led the 2008 team to a 22-8 season, but with the team currently 15-3 she believes they could improve on last year and possibly have the best season in UCSC women’s volleyball history.
“The team this year is the best it’s ever been,” Teitelbaum said. “We did lose three starters last year, but the team has filled in the gaps and we’re looking stronger than ever. Our goal for the season is to make it to NCAA Regionals for the first time in school history.”
The players, including senior outside setter Katie English, share their coach’s sentiments about gunning for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Regionals.
“Making it to the Regionals is a huge goal and motivator for the team because we would be the first team to ever do that,” English said. “And this year is the year it could happen. A lot of us have been playing together since freshman year so we have that team chemistry that sets us apart from the pack.”
This team chemistry has proven to be a powerful force when the team goes on the road.
“It’s a different atmosphere playing away games [because] we don’t have our fans there, so we have to motivate ourselves and each other,” English said. “Our team thrives off of energy from one another. We are always trying to build up momentum in the game, always trying to stay ahead of our opponents in any way we can.”
Senior setter Amy Knight feels as if the team is playing for more than just victories.
“Our coaches always stress that we have goals other than winning,” Knight said. “We’ve come back from so many games because we are playing for more than just the win — we’re playing for each other.”
Despite this philosophy, though, the team has been so successful this season that some players are still taken aback by a loss.
“We kind of expect to win every game now, so it’s kind of a shock when we do lose,” English said. “Right now we are at the top of our game, and every school we go to [is] kind of out to get us because of our record and how well we are doing.”
The women’s volleyball team, which has a 9-1 record in its last 10 games, showed their strength again this past Saturday night at home with a decisive victory in four sets against Menlo College (6-7).
Though the team has a solid fanbase, Knight hopes more UCSC students will recognize the team’s success and come out to support them at future matches.
“A lot of people show up right now. A lot of regulars, mostly friends and family, but there are a lot of locals who show up, too. Come out and watch us play; we’re a fun team to watch and we’re the best we’ve ever been.”