The members of The University’s volleyball team have used the word “work” as their focal point for success throughout the 2014 season.
Whether it was in the preseason, at practice, or during a game, the players dedicated themselves to an attitude of hard work. This mantra was a constant reminder to the team that putting in the effort will yield results. All that dedication helped the Royals advance to the playoffs, which only includes the top four teams. The elusive championship is in reach of the team if they can beat Susquehanna University in the semifinals. The team lost to Susquehanna this past Saturday, but coach James Spangler called the team “beatable.”
“I think if we’re focused and working hard, that we can definitely come out with a win,” Spangler said. This is Spangler’s second year as head coach, and he has seen major improvements from last year. Spangler sees his team’s success as a completely collective effort. The Royals are not finished with their regular season yet, but the upcoming games will not have playoff implications.
Julia Crilly, the only senior on the team, has had a strong season to cap off a successful four years with the program. She said this season stands out among the others for her.
“It’s probably one of the best seasons I’ve had throughout my career here,” she said.
She said the team has been united, and “focused on the same goal.” Crilly said the players have been pushing each other all season. When asked to give one word to describe the team, Crilly said “family.”
“We all just watch out for each other. And it really is like a family atmosphere. We’re best friends, basically,” said Crilly.
The positive team atmosphere has contributed to her positive memories over the past four years. With this being her last year, Crilly said she will miss the sport and her teammates very much.
“It’s so weird. I don’t even like thinking about it. It’s sad. I spend hours and hours playing with my team, and now it’s coming to an end”, she said.
While she may only have a few weeks left, Crilly is not finished leaving her mark on the program. She became the first player in school history to record 1,500 kills and 1,500 digs this weekend. With time left, though, she has the chance to break yet another school record. Crilly is 82 kills away from the current school record. A kill in volleyball is when a player hits the ball over the net and the other team is unable to return it.
“I would love to get that [record]. That would be the icing on the cake,” Crilly said.
With the record in sight, she is completely focused on achieving success in the playoffs with her teammates.
“I think we have a good chance at the title this year. So that’s exciting,” she said.
The Royals have a few weeks to prepare for the playoffs, and Crilly hopes the team can catch Susquehanna off guard. The volleyball team will play in the conference semifinals Nov. 4, and will attempt to add a championship title to its season.