Volleyball copes with decreased team size

by Sarah Golden

As the 2006 volleyball season begins, Whitman is finding its team to be smaller. Two players, junior Hayley Hillman and freshman Helen Peros, have decided to stop playing.

“It just ended up being too big of a time commitment,” said Peros, who wants to be more involved with activities on campus than a commitment to a sports team would allow. “There’s a lot of traveling and I didn’t want to miss out on different social activities.”

For Peros, the decision to leave was a difficult one, as volleyball was a huge part of her life in high school. “But there are plenty of other opportunities to get into athletics at Whitman,” said Peros. “I’m ready to try something new.”

Though the team expressed sorrow at losing members, Peros said that overall, they seemed to understand her decision.

“Nothing big or controversial happened,” said sophomore volleyball player Kristan Brown. “People’s priorities change all the time.”

At the end of last season, three sophomore players quit, meaning the volleyball team has lost a total of five players in the last year. “We only have 11 players now,” said Brown, “so in terms of numbers it was a big loss.” With six players on the court at one time, the number is low for an average team.

As of now, Brown says it’s too early to know how the lack of players will affect the team’s performance this season. “In terms of utility player, it’s going to hurt us,” said Brown.  “It will put a lot more of a crunch and more pressure on the player to stay healthy and not become injured.”

Over last weekend, the women played a tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio, where they played, among other teams, the number one Division III team in the nation.

“We’ve never seen teams like this before,” said Brown.  “There aren’t teams of this caliber on the West coast.”

Despite the high level of competition, Whitman won one of three games, leaving the team optimistic and excited about the rest of the season.

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