Camaraderie thrives in passion, and dedication to that passion is found in the platform of any successful team. North Idaho College’s volleyball team has what it takes to spike a permanent mark in statistics and record books, due to the close bond every sports team should aim for.
The process of building a team goes beyond finding strong athletes that excel. A strong and positive character transforms an athlete into a role model, and makes a team legendary.
After spending even the small amount of time that I did with the volleyball team, I learned that head coach Kelsey Stanley and assistant coach Robin Reese are leading a team of champions beyond the court.
A Coach’s Influence
This NIC Volleyball team has had success this season, and they will be doing everything necessary to make sure that the success continues. One major part of the process has been the relationship the coaching staff has established with each player on the team.
“Coming from my experience in college, you are away from home, from your family,” Stanley said. “It’s nice to have that person you can rely on.”
The volleyball players believe that the balance between coach and a second mom is crucial to their individual and team growth.
“Off the court, they’re more like mom figures,” freshman Hailee Etter said. “On the court, sometimes we’re scared of them. They can be tough, but they push us in a really good way.”
New Season, New Opportunities
No two seasons are the same , and each group of new players has the opportunity to define themselves. This year’s group brings more to the court than their athletic ability. They bring what is crucial to leaving a mark on NIC outside of wins and losses.
“This team is different this year because of the personality each and every one brings to the court,” Stanley said. “Every single girl is unique.”
Between the new freshmen and veteran sophomores, this year’s team has a never-ending supply of passion.
“There is more urgency to have a good season,” sophomore Rachel Leshikar said. “It’s just really exciting that my last season gets to be with them.”
Part of being a freshman means absorbing the experience and guidance from the sophomores.
“They aided me mentally. I was there physically.” said freshman Kayla Neumann. “I could play with them but it was the mental part I was missing.”
From coaches to players, this group has created more than just a volleyball team, they’ve become a family.
There is one thing on this team’s mind for their ideal end to the season.
“We’re really excited to see how the season goes,” sophomore Halle Hess said. “Our main goal is NWAC (Northwest Athletic Conference) championships.”
The returning sophomores have established themselves as leaders, but Leshikar made sure to note that having captains hasn’t stopped any of her freshman teammates from dedicating themselves to winning the NWAC championships.
“It’s definitely do-able,” Leshikar said. “When you’re a leader all you want is for your team to work really hard.”
The team is currently undefeated in their conference, and are 16-5 on the season. They are hungry for a championship.
The next and final home game of the 2017 season is November 3rd at 6 p.m. against Columbia Basin College.
I can speak first hand that NIC’s volleyball team can teach more than just how to serve, set, or spike. They show how to embrace passion, individuality, and pride to create the strongest team possible.
“I am so proud to wear NIC gear. I love this program so much. I love my coaches, I love my team,” Neumann said.