Building for the future

 Henry Slater

This year’s women’s volleyball team has been struggling to become a prevalent competitor in their league, but the coach and the players are keeping their heads held high.

“This has definitely been a down season for us,” said coach Jeff McDonald. “The first half of the season did not go that well, but we do still have a chance to qualify for NWAACC [Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges].”

The team has just started the second half of the regular season, and has three regular season matches left to play. Their current standing is 2-7.

Coach McDonald said, however, that the season has not been unproductive. “This year has been all about figuring out a cohesive system,” said McDonald. “We have a wide variety of personality types on the team, so it has been difficult getting everyone on the same page.”

The team’s setter, Brittney DeJager, 20, elaborated on the issue of misaligned personalities. “A few of us are pretty loud and like to speak our mind,” said DeJager. “But others are really quiet and a little more reserved, which kind of makes tensions rise a little bit.”

“I’m pretty vocal myself, but I’m the setter, so I have to yell at people a lot while we’re playing,” said DeJager. “I’m not negative though, I try to stay positive.”

Coach McDonald explained his goal for trying to realign the players’ personalities. “We don’t want to change the way people work, but we want those quiet people to be good in their role as a quiet player, and the louder players to be good in their role as a loud player,” said McDonald.

Karley Eggert, the team’s 18-year-old libero, has high hopes for their future. “I think we’re really going to turn it around,” said Eggert. “We’ve been coming together a lot better lately.”

DeJager echoed this sentiment. “I think the rest of the season will be good. We really came together over the tournament this last weekend, and we really know how to build each other up in positive ways now,” said DeJager.

Kris Baier, Whatcom’s athletic director, holds a similar opinion. “I know they had to overcome some adversity early on, but I think that they have been making improvements,” said Baier.

McDonald said that it has been more of a rebuilding kind of year, but that afterwards, everyone will be ready for the next year’s season.

Even though the season so far has not been in the Orcas’ favor, coach McDonald said that there is still hope, and that the team still has a goal for the remaining games.

“These last couple weeks are going to be make it or break it, because it’s going to be close for us to qualify for NWAACC, which is definitely the goal of the season,” said McDonald. “But I’m definitely expecting us to get a couple more good wins in before the season is over.”

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