SARAH WUELLNER, Asst. Sports Editor—Catherine Anderson ‘23 fell in love with volleyball years ago in middle school, and if she hadn’t she may never have come to the Hill. She plays the position of middle blocker on Denison’s varsity team. 

Anderson knew Denison was the place she wanted to spend her next four years of her volleyball career. 

“I did not start club volleyball until seventh grade and junior year I was talking to the head coach Carter Castle, and he really wanted me here. So that moment I knew Denison was the right fit. After visiting I was like, ‘wow this is going to be my school’” she reminisced.

Sports have looked very different due to COVID-19 putting a damper on the fall season. Many of the fall sports are now also playing in the spring. “In the fall we played a full season, and we did not play against other schools. We just played red versus white scrimmages. It was a lot fun, just getting extra reps in for the fall and now for the spring we are allowed to have more games. We are playing three games, we had our first win against Wooster with three dubs. I believe my team is one of the special ones on campus, it is friendships that are going to last forever” she said.

COVID protocols are a part of every sports team at Denison with team testing every week. “If we have a game we will be tested three times that week. Our first match, we were tested on Monday, Thursday, and Friday. Monday was the spit test, Thursday and Friday were the PCR rapid tests so we knew that day. That is a lot of testing, so we are very thankful that Denison gives that opportunity to play still” she explained.

Early into the semester no spectators were allowed at competitions, however the rules have changed since then. 

“Anyone can come, we ask you to wear your mask and we are also wearing our masks when we play because we are an indoor sport. It is not that bad since we have been doing it for so long, so we are kind of used to it. We all wear our masks on the court and when we are on the bench we try our best to stay socially distanced. We are a big team of about 20 athletes so we try our very best to stay spread out on the bench so we do not get in trouble” according to Anderson. 

Anderson also overcame many obstacles beyond the pandemic. “In September of 2020, I suffered an ACL and meniscus tear which crushed me because I was really enjoying playing the sport I love. Then I was out and had to work back to where I was. I overcame these hardships with my teammates beside me, pushing me to become a stronger and better player.”

When asked what keeps Anderson motivated while also balancing a school schedule she said, “Our team is very close, we always stay connected even during the off-season, all of them are my rocks. They are the best people on this earth and have always been there no matter what, it does not even have to involve volleyball, it is a sisterhood.”

She expanded on the teamwide friendship, saying “we do a lot of stuff outside of volleyball too. We will sometimes get team dinners or team breakfasts before our games. It is the bonding moments outside of volleyball that keep me motivated and continue my love for the sport. If I quit volleyball now, I would not be the same person I am. So it has brought a lot of character and created who I am as a person.”