In spirit of the upcoming season, one that’s sure to bring its fair share of adversity and challenges, the Elon University recently left the gym to do some team building exercises.
A few days after preseason camp began, the team completed Elon’s high ropes course together in an effort to come closer as a group.
“It was very exciting, a little nerve-wracking,” senior outside hitter Danielle Smith said. “We were working on cheering each other up.”
Players gave each other moral support along the way, pointing out where to put their foot, what to grab onto, etc.
“We really buckled down,” sophomore outside hitter Kayla Agae said. “We were very communicative, very supportive. As a team unit, that’s what you’re supposed to be. Being supportive, telling them ‘reach out this way, maybe take one more step, reach, drop our arm lower.’”
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For some, just completing the course was a major accomplishment in itself.
“A lot of us are not big fans of heights, especially in doing things that we don’t know how to do,” redshirt-freshman Sydel Curry said. “I know when I was up at the top, I was like, ‘I cannot move, someone get me down.’ (Teammates) encouraging helped with getting us through the whole course.”
And there were some tough moments, too. Smith said her twin sister, Chanelle, got to the top and was almost in tears because of how nervous she was. Danielle was yelling to her the whole time, though, and Chanelle made it through unscathed.
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Junior setter Ana Nicksic said she had a close call as well.
“There was a time where I almost wasn’t latched onto anything, but they caught it before I fell to my death,” Nicksic said.
In all, it was a beneficial experience for the team, and the players were able to relate the ropes course to volleyball.
“Knowing that we have each other’s back builds that trust level with each other,” Agae said. “It shows on the court that you trust that person that she’s going to get that ball. They trust you that you’re going to run through and get that ball up and make that play.”
The team seems to have a solid foundation of chemistry on and off the court. Elon also has a big / little program, just like sororities, where an upperclassman and an underclassman are paired up for somewhat of a mentor / mentee deal where they also get each other small gifts.
Elon spends a lot of time together when they’re not playing, too.
“Coming in last year as a freshman, you don’t know if the team’s best friends off the court or if everyone doesn’t like each other,” sophomore middle blocker Ally Karle said. “I’m so lucky and so thankful every day of how close this team is. On campus during the school year, you’ll never see one volleyball player by themselves.”