The freshman volleyball players are thrown into a whirlwind of new and exciting experiences. However, being surrounded by new people and a new environment can sometimes be overwhelming to some freshmen.

However, this was not the case for incoming freshmen Taylor Fisher, Sadie Hilburn and Bridget Hanafin.

“They were really welcoming and everything we really fit together perfectly. We are a great team,” said freshman outside hitter Sadie Hilburn.

Bridget Hanafin, who is from Clever, Mo. grew up in a small town with approximately 250 students in the whole high school and only 63 in her graduating class, Hanafin adjusted quite well to her new environment.

Moving away from home was the main priority on Hanafin’s mind.

“Honestly it’s something you can’t just wake up and say, ‘oh I am moving eight hours from home and starting college athletics.’ It’s like really knowing what you got yourself into and just getting ready,” said Hanafin.

On the other hand, staying in the same town Taylor Fisher’s focus is more towards preparing herself for the physical demand for playing on a college team. Coach Shirley had given the ladies different exercises so that they could be prepared for the high intensity practices.

“Doing the summer workouts really helped me out because I was ready cardio-wise,” said freshman outside hitter Taylor Fisher.

As many college freshmen’s calendars are full of fun and exciting social events, the ladies on the team often don’t have time to do anything but volleyball and school work. They give up their social life during the season in order to maintain a good standing with their grades and to be able to make it to all their practices.

Practices include morning practices where they do a lot of their strength and conditioning and night practices where they watch film and review previous games.

They even have scheduled study hall and study on the bus on the way to games. They have to maintain a “C” or better to be eligible to play on the team and keep their scholarships.

Most of the freshmen were rewarded with a half scholarship; with this they receive room and board, which comes with a meal plan. Their books are also paid for. This is critical for the players because they do not have time to have a job outside of volleyball and class.

“You don’t have time for anything else. It’s a lot of time management,” said Hanafin

Although being in both college sports and taking the minimum 12 hours or more is hard, sometimes it teaches the players to persevere. Having a coach who pushes them to succeed on the court is helping them succeed off the court as well.

“I love Coach Shirley. She is one of the hardest coaches I know, but she is mentally preparing us not only for volleyball and the games, but life as well – just being ready for anything all the time,” said Hanafin.

Even though coming in as a freshman might be over whelming at times, the team has been there to help the ladies get adjusted to their new surroundings.

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