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Women’s volleyball team unstoppable at 14-0

There is no magic behind the women’s volleyball team’s 14-0 record this season, just hard work and team unity.

“I don’t feel like a freshman anymore because we’re so close,” first-year defense player Katie Ressler said. “There’s no separation on the team.”

Defense player, senior Susannah Cobb agreed.

“It can be hard for a senior to relate to a freshman, but it’s just been awesome,” she said. “The freshmen have brought a lot to the table, and they’re challenging us.”

This unity was forged early in the year with a trip to Gretna Glen for team building exercises, according to senior setter Erin Meredith.

“I told them to be honest with each other, not to do cliches,” head coach Mark Birtwistle said. “The girls have really responded to that.”

Unity has been one of the team goals this year, according to Birtwistle. Other team goals include winning their first three weekend tournaments and advancing for the third straight year to the Sweet Sixteen NCAA regional finals.

The team has accomplished their first goal, winning their first three tournaments, against F&M College, Gettysburg and Lebanon Valley College.

For the team, however, winning is not as important as working hard, according to Birtwistle.

“If we focus on the process, the win will be a byproduct of how we do things,” he said. “We’ll let wins come as they do as long as we’re giving our best effort.”

Ressler agreed.

“I think everyone understands when we step on the court we all have the same intention in mind: a need to get work done,” she said.

The team carries this attitude even into games they are confident of winning, team members said.

“We need to look at it as an opportunity to work on our game,” Cobb said.

“It’s an attitude, coming every day and making sure we’re working hard.”

Unity and hard work were a winning combination in the finals of the Gettysburg tournament September 9-10, according to several team members.

In that tournament, the team played all five games in the match, after losing games 2 and 3 to Gettysburg. Birtwistle attributed their win of game 5 to the unity of the team.

“We needed energy, some encouragement, and the team really responded to each other,” he said.

It was a defining moment for the team, according to several team members.

“It showed us no matter how tired we are, we can still come back and win,” Meredith said. “It gave us confidence that we could compete with anyone.”

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