As I sit on the charter bus headed back to little ol’ Greenville, IL I am reflecting back on the trip as a whole. That includes the madness that the coaches and Becca Winemiller had to go through of booking hotels, finding restaurants to eat at that will take almost 30 people, figuring out all the little details about the tournament and several more. I also reflect on the bus rides, the stop in Nashville we had on the way to Georgia, hanging out in the hotels, and lastly, being at Berry College for the NCAA DIII National Tournament. You could ask any of the girls or coaching staff a part of this team and they would agree that from the moment we left H.J. Long Gymnasium at Greenville College, complete excitement flowed from us. Excitement that was born when we won our Conference Tournament.
Just yesterday we had our big game. Of course, we carried our excitement into that game, but we also were nervous. I mean, we were about to play the #2 seed team in the nation, Emory. They were big, fast, and strong, but that didn’t stop us from playing with all we had. The first set was definitely difficult. It took us some time to adjust to how they played. The next set we started to get into the groove of things and we kept right up in points with them. Emory won set one and two. In the beginning of set three, the six of us on the court came together and told each other that we are not finished here. We knew we were not done yet. We fought in that set, we fought hard. With having a lead the entirety, we won set three. We were feeling good, as we had just taken a set from the #2 team in the nation. Set four rolled around and Emory stepped up their game. We unfortunately lost that set, giving Emory the over all win. I look back on this game and of course, get a little upset. But then, I think about the team I got to play it with. We never quit, we never gave up. We played with heart, and most importantly, we played for each other.
I went to a junior college for my freshman and sophomore year, and as I was nearing the end of my days there, I was trying to decide where I wanted to go to continue my education and volleyball career. I had remembered that Coach Ackerman reached out to me while I was at the junior college. So I decided to schedule a visit. As soon as I got to meet with Coach Ackerman, it was set, I needed Greenville College, I needed this volleyball family, I needed this coach. It might sound silly to some people to NEED a college and volleyball team, but if you know anything about the team, you know it is most definitely not.
As a transfer student, I may have been a little awkward and shy, but that sure didn’t last long. This team consumes you, it welcomes you, it pulls you in to be something bigger than yourself. I never thought that I would be a college student for longer than 4 years, but just recently I accepted the Graduate Assistant position for this team. I decided that I’m not finished with this family God has blessed me with. I can speak for the other seniors that we will never be finished with it.
As a senior on this team, I am forced to face the fact that my volleyball career is over. Yes, it is a sad thought, but when a girl is a part of a team like this one, she knows she has her teammates until the day she dies.