Elon Volleyball spent the first two weeks of their 2019 season on the road and since their return to Schar Center the team has won three straight.
Life on the road is tough work for student athletes. Missing class time due to travel forces players to find time in between games, team meetings and long road trips to stay on top of due dates that don’t change with their schedules.
“People are always like, ‘oh athletes get to miss so much class. It’s so great.’ When you ask any athlete we actually really hate missing class,” senior middle blocker Nori Thomas said.
At the beginning of the semester the athletes submit travel letters to their professors to indicate what classes they will miss for away games. Then in the week leading up to an away game the players will email professors again to receive all assignments that are due in that time.
Finally before leaving for games they will crunch to finish all assignments before getting on the bus so when they begin to travel they are focused on volleyball only.
“You stay there Friday and come back Sunday night, turn around and wake up again on Monday for class. But it goes very fast when you’re there but then it’s very stressful on the bus ride knowing you have to get stuff done,” sophomore outside hitter Leah Daniel said.
This constant process forces volleyball players to develop time management skills. Thomas is now comfortable with the process and is now helping younger players with this difficult transition.
“I’ve definitely tried to help and just be like get it done now as much as you can. It’s more important to do that now rather than a Monday night coming back from travel,” Thomas said.
This year has been the longest stretch of away tournaments since the Phoenix joined the CAA. Head coach Mary Tendler says it will prepare them for future games, especially their three straight away games to end the season.
“You have to be able to perform on the road because we’re going to have road conference matches and weekends and long stretches where we’re away from home. So it's a good experience for us,” Tendler said.
After traveling over 1,100 miles round-trip in their first two weeks, the Phoenix settled into Schar Center on Sep. 10. Being back in its home arena brought a sense of comfortability to the team and it translates to the court. After going 1-5 to start the season the team collected three straight home wins and won the Phoenix Challenge, the Elon hosted volleyball tournament.
The Phoenix look to continue their home winning streak when they take on the Winthrop University Eagles in Schar Center Tuesday at 7p.m.