Coming off of a shaky season of losses, with a record of 0-25, the women’s volleyball team is experiencing major changes to their team; seven new players from around the United States. The diverse line up of student athletes include four players recruited from Puerto Rico, two from Texas and one from Utah.
Despite the difficulties faced by the team season, the newest additions have been a source of motivation and players have quickly grown into a family.
“We really rely on each other to pick each other up and motivate us to win and do better. As a team it puts us closer,” said Kali Viles, a transfer student from Texas.
Many on the team share her sentiment, their common connection of being completely new to New Jersey has helped the team bond and motivate each other.
Nearly 2,000 miles from her hometown of Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, Karla Seda describes the challenges she faces as a student athlete.
“The hardest thing is adapting. You’re going from being with your family everyday and then coming here all alone. You have to adapt, you have to be independent. You have to work hard on the court also as a student athlete,” she said.
The sacrifice and risk of moving to a new country to play for Saint Peter’s has changed the meaning of the game for some.
“For me, the practices and games have changed. We’re really trying. We didn’t move all the way here to not do anything. We came here with a purpose. It’s really hard because we played volleyball in a different language back home. We have to relearn everything in English,” said Natalia Carbonell Torres of Carolina, Puerto Rico.
Coach Amable Martinez described his style of recruitment, “I try to find the best talent that we could possibly get, anywhere across the nation- even internationally.”
Prior to joining Saint Peter’s as the Women’s Volleyball Coach last spring, Martinez also coached teams at Steven’s Institute of Technology and Bloomfield College.
His goals for the season are to shape and grow his team, with a majority of the roster being freshmen and sophomores. “Our hopes are to get in the right track, we’re hoping to get our team back to winning ways. We’re going one step at a time,” he said.
Last season the team lost all of their games, but Martinez is more focused on the everyday grind that comes with developing the core of the program, “I’m not so concerned right now with the wins and losses I’m looking more at the progress that they’re having every day. We don’t have a number for expectations for wins. As long as we’re going in a positive direction we’re doing well.”
All the players have their respective backgrounds in high level club, high school and collegiate teams.
Imani Spicer, a freshman from Round Rock, Texas offered advice to other student athletes and fans of the team, “Be comfortable facing adversity. We’re the underdogs of the conference, [but] still see that light at the end. We’re going to get through eventually.”
The team encourages the community to come out to build momentum during their games, “There’s no six players on the court, there’s seven because the fans are the seventh player,” said Karla Seda.
Make sure to support the team on September 20th when they play against Iona.