The Wellesley College volleyball team began their 2017 campaign on Sept. 1 at the Brandeis Invitational. On the first day of tournament play, the team fell to both Brandeis College and Franklin College.
The squad ultimately recovered from these losses and came back the next day to secure a 3-0 victory over Mount Saint Mary’s College. Wellesley College now boasts an impressive overall record of 8-3. They are currently 4-0 in the NEWMAC Conference, where they share the first place spot with the Babson Beavers.
This is head coach Dorthy Webb’s 25th year leading the Wellesley Blue.“This is one of the most talented and athletic teams we’ve ever had. Everything, both offensively and defensively, is there. Now it’s about putting the pieces together and becoming a cohesive, consistent team,” she explained.
Webb revealed that her team began “putting the pieces together” long before they even set foot on Wellesley’s campus for the fall semester. Over the summer, each member of the team was expected to complete a fitness program and get as many touches on the volleyball as possible. After a summer of individual fitness and technical training, the squad returned to campus for a full two weeks of preseason.
The Wellesley volleyball team added six members from the class of 2021 to their roster. Michelle Li, a junior setter for the Blue, believes that the new talent has been crucial to the team’s success thus far. “We’re doing really well this season. I think a lot of that has to do with the first years. A successful volleyball team has competitive drive as well as talent, and this new group definitely brings both of those attributes to our program,” she said.
Captaining the volleyball team this year are Alina Mota ‘18 and Yasmine Reece ‘19. Mota is the squad’s sole senior and a two-time recipient of the NEWMAC Academic All-Conference Award. Reece is a two-time member of the NEWMAC All-Conference First Team and received an AVCA All-American Honorable Mention in 2015 as well as an AVCA New England Region All-Region Team Honorable Mention in 2016.
Webb inferred that the leadership from her captains and the junior class has been stellar thus far. “Yasmine and Alina have been outstanding captains so far this year, each with very different leadership styles. We have a large junior class, and they are really stepping up as leaders. We’ve had some tight matches this season, and the upperclassmen remained remarkably professional and posed,” she said.
The week of Sept. 17-Sept 24 was a successful one for the Blue. They defeated Wheaton College in a conference matchup on Sept. 17 and downed the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in a non-conference game on Sept. 13.
Li was also featured in NCAAW’s weekly top ten plays and earned her 2,000th career assist during the match against the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Li noted, “It’s always nice to recognized and hit milestones, but my play being selected and my 2,000 assists were completely unexpected. I had no idea.”
With such impressive individual and team accomplishments, Wellesley College volleyball’s 2017 campaign is off to a phenomenal start.
When asked about the team’s goals for the rest of the season, Webb stated, “We are taking it day by day. We are focusing more on how we conduct ourselves, rather than worrying about making it to the NCAA tournament or winning a NEWMAC title.I want us to do the little things well, like taking care of ourselves every day, physically and mentally, to best prepare for intense, productive practices and demanding, competitive matches. Doing the little things well is ultimately what makes the biggest difference.”
Want to support your Wellesley Blue? Head down to the Keohane Sports Center at 1 p.m. on Sept. 30 to watch the volleyball team take on Springfield College in a conference matchup.