The University of Indianapolis women’s volleyball team recently capped off their season with a record of 13-14, according to UIndy Athletics. The season came to an end when the team lost to Rockhurst University in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament with a match score of 1-3. Although the season is over, the players and head coach Jason Reed are excited for what is yet to come.
Reed said he enjoyed the season and will look back on it very positively. Additionally, senior defensive specialist MaKenna Barnhart said there were a lot of memories made throughout this season. A solid team and a new gym floor introduced an exciting and promising season, according to Barnhart
“…we had a great group of girls and we meshed really well this season together…,” Barnhart said. “I made the best memories I’ve had this last year. Everyone always says that when you look back on your college career-but you don’t necessarily look at wins, losses or how that season went-you think about the friendships and the memories you’ve made. I think I’ll remember this past year for a long time”.
Barnhart is a senior and plans to graduate in December. Although Barnhart and other seniors will not be returning, Reed is still looking forward to the next season, saying that seniors, such as Barnhart, did a great job of building a foundation for the future.
“I’m really optimistic, and I guess that’s the ‘tip of the cap’ to that group that’s leaving…,” Reed said. “They helped lay that foundation that we get to build upon for the future.”
Planning for next year’s season, Reed said he wants to work on mental toughness this spring. The team recently had exit evaluation meetings, and each player was mentioning the same thing-being mentally tough. Reed said being comfortable in uncomfortable situations could be the key to next year’s success. Reed said that the team fell short in a few matches, giving their opponent an advantage after making costly mistakes.
“We need to get tougher. That’s something that was a resounding theme in all of the meetings, the consistent urgency,” Reed said. “Mental toughness is something we learned, and we were a little short of that. That’s very much a focus in the spring, which means spring gets to be a challenge. We need to push ourselves, we need [to] put ourselves in some uncomfortable situations, and then deal with those uncomfortable situations.”
Reed said experiencing these situations in the spring could make them easier to deal with in the fall.
“That way when we see those same uncomfortable situations in the fall, it’s not unique,” Reed said. “We were so close in so many matches, and then it’d be a couple of mistakes at the end-costly, timely, mistakes-that ended up helping out our opponent. As we figure out how to get over that hump, we’re going to be pretty scary.”
Looking back and reflecting on the season, Barnhart said that there was one game she will remember for a while. She said it was towards the beginning of the season, when the team had just started playing on the new floor.
“I believe it was when we played Bentley, at Ruth Lilly Fitness Center. It was one of the first times we got to play on the new floor,” Barnhart said. “We had an incredible weekend. It was towards the beginning, so it was a lot of fun. It is definitely a game I’ll remember from this past year.”
Reed also said that the team was connected, even with all sorts of things going on in the background. However, the team continued to focus on winning, according to Reed.
“This season was kind of crazy, in terms of everything that happened around the team…. We had crazy things happening within the [volleyball] department,” Reed said. “I tore my meniscus, I got into a car crash, it was a wild couple of months. On top of that, you’re still trying to win volleyball matches… I enjoyed the relational aspect of the group. I felt that despite all the noise going on everywhere else, for me, the connective piece was really really strong.”
The team will start working again in the spring and Reed said that although it may be a challenge, it will end with the team being a tough opponent for other teams to deal with.
Barnhart said that this program has taught her to be a leader, and has shaped her into a better person. She said that she will miss the friendships she made.
“Sometimes it wasn’t even about volleyball; it was just about the friendships that I had,” Barnhart said.