By CLAIRE TOBIN
Last weekend, our Women’s Volleyball Team continued their winning streak by beating Schreiner, Trinity, Southwestern, and Texas Lutheran. This string of wins left them with an impressive record of 18 wins and zero losses. With a target on their backs, Colorado College volleyball is now number two in the nation. Lizzy Counts and Jillian Gibbs, sophomores on the volleyball team, explained why the team has been dominating on the court and also gave some insight into their lives off the court.
Lizzy Counts is from Oakland, Calif. and sets for the volleyball team. Counts began playing volleyball in fourth grade and quickly learned that she had a knack for the sport. “It was the sport I was best at,” Counts said. “So it was easy for me to get into when I was beating all the other people.”
Jillian Gibbs, a sophomore from Gainesville, Fla. is middle blocker for the team. Gibbs is a true altruist and would like to have a career where she can directly see people benefitting from her work. Gibbs played soccer on an all-boys team until she was 13 before switching to volleyball for a better team dynamic.
While both of these athletes are fun to talk to, kind and engaged, the juicy details I wanted to hear about were how these Tigers were managing to uphold such an unbelievable winning streak. The secret, according to Gibbs and Counts, is that they stay fiercely motivated and dedicated. “It’s not just a select few [of us] that are serious about playing,” Gibbs said, “Our whole team is really into it.”
Even during practice or scrimmages, the team plays competitively and doesn’t hold back. “Nobody wants to slack off and nobody is cutting corners,” Counts insisted. Each member of the team feels responsible for helping achieve the in and will go to any lengths to bring home the trophy. “I don’t think there’s a single person on the team that doesn’t give every ounce [of effort] they have,” Gibbs said.
Even though their season has been continuously outstanding, Counts and Gibbs are especially fond of their most recent win over Southwestern. Gibbs noted that CC really dug deep and worked harder than Southwestern for the win. “We crushed their dreams,” Counts said. To fuel up for their last tournament, Gibbs ate Goldfish while Counts “pounded Skittles like Marshawn Lynch himself.” Whatever works, I guess. I’m in no position to judge the pre-game snacks of the most successful team on campus.
But the team’s season hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows—they sacrifice weekends and school nights to the sport and spend long hours practicing. “We’ve been working really hard this season and I think our success really comes down to our chemistry on the court,” Counts said.
Counts also believes the team is moving well on the court together and is very resilient. “Last year, when we were behind we would get down on ourselves and stay down,” Counts admitted. “That’s not happening this year. We might drop a set but then we’ll come back and dominate the next set.” Both Counts and Gibbs agree that the team is exceptionally positive this year.
Gibbs and Counts cannot ignore the pressure placed on the team. There are high expectations and high-stakes tournaments coming up. “The pressure to get to that top spot motivates us,” Counts said. “We have earned this. We work hard to maintain this reputation.” Gibbs also stressed that the team ia never complacent; they always see areas to improve.
Gibbs and Counts are looking forward to their next home tournament on Friday, Oct. 13. Until then, they will be stocking up on Goldfish and Skittles and continuing to give their all on the court every day.