During Fall 2021, the university announced that, over the span of five years, 12 new varsity sports would be added. The first team to be inaugurated this Fall is the women’s volleyball team. The team, consisting of 14 herons, who all come from diverse backgrounds, have already bonded deeply over their shared passion for the sport and have had a great start to the season. We talked to Madi Henry, a senior at the Colleges, and a middle blocker on the newly formed William Smith volleyball team about her experiences on the team so far. Madi played on the intermural volleyball team on campus last year, but missed being on a team and playing on a high level again. As such, when she heard that there was going to be a women’s varsity team she knew that this is what she wanted to devote her senior year to: “My goal for this academic year is to work hard both on court and in the classroom and to have a good time playing the sport I love”.
The team’s new coach is Derryk Willams. He was brought in during Winter time last year and was given the responsibility to recruit a full team of competitive players within less than a year. According to Madi he succeeded: “He did an amazing job recruiting, we have an amazing team of highly skilled players, but also really great people”. Today, the team consists of 14 players, nine of which are incoming freshmen. After being newly formed, the team worked very hard to be ready to immediately go into playing games. As Henry mentioned, it is important to have a strong bond and trust between the players since volleyball is a sport that requires strong communication skills. Through team building activities, the players were able to build strong connections, trust each other fast and work well as a team.
The team was able to show how far they have come during the first weekend of the season already as they won all three games. They will be competing in the Liberty League and will play games every Friday and Saturday. According to Madi, the goal is to be the first-ranked team in the league: “even though this might be ambitious, we realize how talented we are and are willing to push ourselves to be the best we can”. One of the things she was particularly excited about is the support and encouragement they receive from other William Smith athletic teams, who have expressed their excitement about having another Herons team and visiting each other’s homegames. The team’s next homegame will take place on October 8th 2022 at 6:00pm in Bristol Gym against Ithaca College. Let’s all support this new team together!