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March 7, 2013 / umbcdawgblog

Continuing Into Team Practices

By Emily Witsaman

As our individual practices are coming to an end this week, the UMBC women’s volleyball team is getting geared up for team practices to begin next week. Our team practices will run Tuesday through Friday through the remainder of the spring semester, ending with our final spring tournament held the last weekend in April.


My name is Emily Witsaman, and I am a junior middle hitter/right-side hitter for the UMBC women’s volleyball team. I am an Ohio native and came to UMBC to pursue my degree in media and communications studies with a double minor in economics and entrepreneurship & innovation. As my college career is flying by I’ve come to realize I only have a year and a half left until I graduate from UMBC. I am currently one of two interns from the volleyball team with the UMBC Athletic Communications and Marketing Departments (Mallory McIntyre being the other). I have worked many different sporting events, such as men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s lacrosse, as well as four hours a week in the office. Later on in the semester I will get a chance to work a few baseball and softball games as well. I have thoroughly enjoyed working in different areas for these games. Before the games I shadow Kristen Alexander, Assistant Director of Marketing & Promotions, in order to learn what is needed for the events in order to be successful in the marketing and promotions side of things. During the games, I work with the Athletic Communications staff by assisting with stats or tweeting game updates for UMBC Athletics. Although I have only been an intern for these two departments since January, my experience thus far has given me confirmation of what I may want to do after college, working with collegiate or professional sports.

Right now, our team is concluding small group practices this week. Coach Blanchard is continuing to emphasize our fundamentals with us, in order to prepare us for our team practices next week. The small group practices, consisting of about five players per session, have focused on passing, hitting, and individual defense fundamentals. Throughout my volleyball career here at UMBC, Coach Blanchard has paid the most attention to our fundamentals and mechanics in both team practices and individuals. Without good mechanics, our team would not be successful as a whole in any area of the game.

Outside of our small group sessions this week, we also have team conditioning Wednesday and Friday for about an hour, as well as lifting group three times a week. With team practices starting next week, the intensity of our training will definitely pick up. We will practice Tuesday through Friday from 8-10 a.m. We will now be able to use what we have learned in small groups and incorporate it into 6-on-6 team drills. I look forward to team practices because it gives our team a chance to compete against each other and better ourselves for the spring tournaments in April, as well as prepare us for a great fall season.

Spring season is also of huge importance to our team because of how many injured players we have. This is the time for the injured players to really focus on getting treatments and rehabs to get back to full health and injury free. I am currently dealing with an injury myself. Back in October, when we faced Binghamton at their gym, I injured my left elbow blocking. I later found out I tore my ulnar collateral ligament. I have been rehabbing and treatment for a few months now and slowly coming back to fully practicing with the team. I just recently found out I will need Tommy John surgery, which will be scheduled for spring break. This will put me out about five months leading up to the start of our fall season. Hallie Carter and Kristin Cooper, to name a few, are also facing injuries at the moment and are recovering as well. We are all pushing through our workouts and practices and doing everything that we are physically able to do the best that we can in order to help the team grow and get better every day.

In all, we have had a busy spring and are continuing to work hard in preparation for our April spring tournaments!


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