Seniors have one last journey
We are in the final weekend of conference play. Last weekend we had strong performances against Wake Forest and Duke. It was exciting to see how strong we performed as a team. I would say it was the most fun we’ve had all season. Then we had senior day Wednesday against Clemson.
Senior day is always bittersweet. Although it is the end of one group’s journey, it is also a celebration of the successes over the past four years. As a senior, I could never imagine my senior day would come so quickly, but while the end of the regular season is near, I know our year is far from over.
My time at Florida State has exceeded my expectations that I had when I committed my junior year in high school. During my freshman season I was supposed to redshirt, but due to a few unexpected injuries I was forced to come out of that planned redshirt. While I was disappointed at the time, I feel like with the experiences I have had, that time was made up.
My sophomore year seems like a dream. We won the ACC Championship and were also able to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament. Next thing we knew, we were celebrating in Minnesota after winning in the Elite Eight! It was the first time in school history that we had a team heading to the national semifinals.
I couldn’t believe it, but it felt so good. Our trip to San Antonio was a great experience. Unfortunately, our journey ended when we lost to UCLA, which went on to become national champions. Once we got a taste of the national championship, we wanted another shot.
My junior year was another year of breaking records and another ACC title. With a difficult preseason schedule, and after our six matches of the season, we found ourselves ranked No. 6 in the AVCA Coaches Poll. Unfortunately, that ranking didn’t last long when we lost to our ACC and in-state rival Miami. But we moved on and continued to fight for another ACC title.
In October, we beat the University of Florida, another in-state rival, snapping a 21 match-losing streak against the Gators. Our last regular-season match, against Miami, would determine the ACC champion. In front of one of the biggest crowds in Tully Gym, we pulled out the huge win in four sets! Again we were given the opportunity to host the first and second rounds. In the second round we met up with 2011 Sweet 16 opponent Purdue. We took the match to five but lost on our home court for the first time since 2010.
Our motto for my junior season was “Unfinished Business,” and I believe we still have unfinished business to attend to. We got a taste of the national championship, and we want to get back there. In our last few matches this year, we have played the best we have all season. We are finally finding our rhythm going into the last match of the regular season and into postseason.
It’s crazy how fast this season has seemed to flash before my eyes, but really my whole career has done that. It feels as if my freshman year never happened, and our national semifinal season was more than just two years ago.
I’ve learned so much in my time of being a part of the Seminole family. It wasn’t the easiest transition moving from home in Georgia, but at the end of the day it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
I’ve learned a lot about the importance of teamwork and trusting your coaches and teammates. Teamwork is a huge part of many sports, but I think in volleyball, you can’t win without it. While a player can “out shine” others with the amount of kills they get, that doesn’t matter if the team isn’t functioning as one, and it is very hard to be successful.
It is sad to see an end of one chapter in my life, but exciting to start the next. But, until that can happen, we have a long postseason journey ahead, and I can’t wait to see what this talented team can really do.
Until next time, Go Noles!