Despite the women’s volleyball team’s loss in the conference semifinals Nov. 1, senior middle blocker Lauren Friend believes she’s had a successful volleyball career. Freshman outside hitter Jessi Lumsden has expressed desire to step up and lead the team going forward.
Though her volleyball career started off shaky, Friend said her persistence with training earned her the opportunity to play college volleyball.
“The first year that I played volleyball, I went and tried out for a bunch of different club teams. I got cut from every single one,” Friend said. “I joined this training team … the year after that I made (teams) and started getting recruited by colleges.”
Like Friend, Lumsden said she struggled to find her niche when she first started playing the sport. After switching positions multiple times, Lumsden said she was able to find the playing style that fit her best. Lumsden first played competitive volleyball in eighth grade.
After an injury during high school, she began to play as an outside hitter.
The California Lutheran University (Cal Lutheran) Regals came out of the gates strong Nov. 1, starting off the first set with a 12-4 run. The Panthers’ offense came up short, ending the set on a 25-10 loss.
“I didn’t think they were ready to play … they were nervous or something,” said Mary Cahill, volleyball head coach. “We just made too many mistakes … I don’t know if we were trying too hard.”
Friend said the mindset of a veteran player going into the semifinals is much different than that of a freshman. While freshmen may be intimidated, Friend and the other seniors on the team have a calm mindset.
“I think that it’s super nerve wracking for everyone,” Friend said, “the difference is that over four years, you develop different techniques to deal with it … my motto over the past four years has been that I play to win, I don’t play to not lose.”
As the lead scorer this year, Lumsden said she hopes she can help the incoming freshmen develop their work ethic.
She was able to relieve some of the nerves going into the semifinal game against Cal Lutheran, Lumsden said.
“I definitely put a lot of pressure on myself,” Lumsden said. “It was not my day that day … After the first two sets, we decided that we were here because we love the sport.”