Tori Bowser, the middle blocker for the Queens College volleyball team, has to use her voice and skill in the middle of the field to guide her teammates.
Bowser, the only freshman on the squad, has to take on responsibilities and pressures that most freshmen don’t have to endure in their first year of college volleyball.
“I think I’ve taken on the pressure pretty well. For the first couple of games it was like being in awe of: I’m 18 and I’m playing against people on the other side of the court that could be like 22,” Bowser said — in high school sports, athletes usually play people in the same age group. “The pressure of being a freshman starter is a lot, but so far I think I’m handling it pretty okay, but I still have my moments of thinking ‘I’m just a freshman.’”
With the help of her teammates and coaches on and off the court, the team’s chemistry has integrated Bowser so well, it is often forgotten that she is just a freshman.
“Our team chemistry is really good so far for the fact that I feel very welcomed. We have good team chemistry off the court that helps strengthen it on the court to function together as one unit and not just six individual people,” Bowser said. “I’m very happy about it for the fact that I’m so included into it.”
The East Coast Conference announced that Bowser was the Rookie of the Week for the week of Sept. 30.
Bowser was in the trainer’s office getting tape taken off when she found out that she was Rookie of the Week. Her coach rushed in and told her that she had to put on her jersey and take some pictures since she received the honor. But with a lot going on at the moment, Bowser did not grasp how much of an honor it was until everyone in the training room applauded her.
“I couldn’t even find words. I was speechless when I found out and I still think it’s unbelievable to me and I feel really grateful that I have a good team and that we’ve played so well to have that opportunity to be Rookie of the Week,” Bowser said.
But it’s the only time she will be speechless as her presence on the team is shown through her vocal leadership.
“It takes on a lot for me to make sure that my team talks because being the freshman on the team, [I] can’t be intimidated, [I] can’t be scared and I think that’s a big kick onto the court because [I] have to put [myself] out there in a sense of needing to be loud,” Bowser said. “It’s something that you have to push out for the sake of being successful for your team and also for yourself.”
Her experience playing middle blocker has given her the defensive strength of being a good blocker. Although she’s considered short for the position, the six foot tall player takes that as an offensive advantage being able to jump really well.
But like her offensive and defensive strengths, Bowser admits that she does have some weaknesses. On the offensive side, she doesn’t look while she’s hitting and on the defensive side believes that she could improve on passing.
The volleyball team’s record is 2-4 in ECC play, but the team’s goal is to make it to the playoffs.
“Right now I really want us to do well in our conference. I know right now we’re in a bit of a struggle but I think my goal is for us to get to the playoffs and you can see it on the team and see how much heart and passion they have going into practice and into games,” Bowser said.
The volleyball team’s next home game is on Oct. 24 against Bridgeport.