The road to greatness begins with a single step, ripe with struggles and disappointments. For Queens College’s volleyball team, that road of struggles is fading as they prepare to kick off the season with passion.
Opponents of the Lady Knights this season are facing a whole new team. Since the end of last season, they’ve been training to become an overall better team.
The Lady Knights have added eight new players to this season’s roster and while some may view rookies as a weakness, the Lady Knights have the utmost confidence in them.
Sophomore, Else Buchmiller, outside hitter and one of the team’s captains, feels that they’re prepared for this season.
“Our team’s attitude is different. I feel like we’re ready to go out there and just do it,” Buchmiller said.
The team has trained extensively to improve individual and group skills, with training lasting for months.
Head coach Leanna Taylor, entering her third year at QC, said the team has been working hard since the end of last season.
“The Lady Knights were hard at work, training since the close of their previous season. Training season is when they’re in the weight room, taking care of details. Training starts in February and goes until May. Then they have a training program all summer long,” Taylor said.
But training doesn’t stop when the game starts. The players train daily during the season, and work on “maintaining their shoulders,” according to Taylor.
Training is more than physical conditioning. Ending last season with a record of 3-24, the team has a lot to improve. Last season Taylor had a new squad, which lead to them not going as far as planned.
“Our greatest weakness was that we were young. Last year, we had a young squad, we brought in five freshmen. We did not finish where we hoped to finish. But we still have those freshmen returning back hungry,” Taylor said.
Senior, Ceren Kilic, a setter and team captain, agreed with Taylor.
“We’re a new team with a lot of rookies, but we have so many bodies on the court and everybody has skill,” Kilic said.
In addition to being a young team, they had issues with communication.
“As an entire team I think communication, as well as trust, is the foundation for a strong team. You have to know each player is going to do their job,” Taylor said.
Even with the obstacles they face, Buchmiller and Kilic agreed that the previous record wouldn’t follow them this season.
“We are a 100 percent a different team this year with different attitude, skills and abilities,” Buchmiller said.
“I expect to make it to playoffs because we’re a really good team this year. We know we can do it,” Kilic said.
“This season I think our greatest strength [are] our returning starters [who] are focused and passionate. They’re hungry to knock off some teams who aren’t expecting it,” Taylor said.
Despite having some weaknesses, they have even better strengths.
“Our greatest strength is our depth. This year we recruited really well. We have so many talented players that anybody on the team can step up,” Buchmiller said.
With a new season about to begin, the question of championship is in the air. The Lady Knights are using last season as an inspiration to motivate themselves.
“We have such a strong conference, but it’s hard for us to judge if it’s going to be difficult. The things that have been our strengths and weaknesses last year have changed. It’s not a physical thing, it’s mental. It all depends on how we respond to adversity,” Buchmiller said.