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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Women’s club volleyball set up for future fun and success

The team poses for a photo following a tournament on Feb. 19. PHOTO COURTESY OF LANIE SMITH ’25

The last three years have been tumultuous for club sports programs across the country, and that is no different for sports like women’s club volleyball at St. Joe’s. 

On March 1, 2020, the team played their last tournament of the semester at the University of Delaware. When the final whistle blew, the team prepared to honor the seniors on the squad who had taken the court for the last time in their collegiate club careers. 

Grace Barr ’23, who was then a first-year outside hitter on that team, figured she had plenty of tournaments left to play for them. As it turns out, that competition was not only the last for the seniors, but, for another year and a half, the last for everyone else too.

During the next year, covid-19 restrictions meant the team was not even allowed to practice indoors.

“We were practicing outside, which was kind of a mess,” Barr said. “Nobody really showed up.”

It’s been a long road to get the club’s legs back underneath them, Barr said, but the club is back to competing year-round at two to three tournaments per semester.

While the club has not won any tournaments so far this year, Barr said they are playing better than they have in previous seasons.

“This year is probably the best I’ve seen us [play],” Barr said. “The team is looking really good.”

Paige Jansen ’24 was a first-year student on Hawk Hill in the fall of 2020 and an outside right-side hitter on the team. For Jansen, the club provided a space to socialize and make friends in a time where doing so was not easy. When the team finally played a tournament in November 2021, she said it was exhilarating.

“Practice is fun, but it’s really not the same as playing in a tournament,” Jansen said. “It was really cool to get that energy with the girls and have that excitement knowing that we were all back in it again together and work as a team. ”

Lanie Smith ’25, a libero, almost missed the tryouts during her first year in the fall of 2021. Even though Smith was not sure then that the team would be able to play in any tournaments, she liked the idea of playing volleyball with like-minded individuals.

“I have this awesome opportunity to play the sport I love … and do it with a bunch of girls that also enjoy the sport as much as I do,” Smith said. 

Jansen said she believes the club is in good hands.

“It makes me even more happy that I get to play again next year because I’m a junior, so it’s not quite over for me yet,” Jansen said. “I still get to see this club as it continues to grow because all I think is [it’s] going in a really good direction.”

The team’s next tournament is March 26 at Princeton University.

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