By Kelsey Whaley
Stops number 9, 10, and 11 were all in Northfield MN, where six teams were playing in a preseason tournament on St. Olaf’s campus. Carleton, Hamline, and the host, St. Olaf were all participating and just so happened to be the final three stops on the MIAC Volleyball Camp Tour.
The Carleton College Knights kicked off the day in their 10am scrimmage against St. Thomas. Carleton tied for 5th in the MIAC last season but missed the playoffs based on head-to-head records. While they have several returners on the roster this season, the Knights lost their setter to graduation. While two setters are returning for their final season, there is still going to be a transition as the two become full time players for Carleton.
That being said, here are my six observations from Carleton College's scrimmages in Northfield:
- Embrace the Division III Philosophy- The Carleton players embody the DIII philosophy in every way possible. On top of being a member of a varsity athletic team, the Knights are also involved in a variety of activities off the court, such as service work and academic clubs. Many of the athletes chose to play at Carleton over other schools because of the academic opportunities the school offers in addition to athletics. Every player is involved in something other than sports, which would make the NCAA very proud.
Carleton players come together in between sets in their
first scrimmage against St. Thomas
- Driven On and Off the Court- On the court, the Knights are one of the most driven teams I’ve seen. They want to continue climbing the rankings in the conference and prove they belong in the upper echelon (more on that in a bit). They are also extremely driven off the court in their other endeavors. Not only do they embrace the Division III philosophy, the Carleton Knights volleyball program has mastered it. Their team goal is to not only be relevant on the court, but off it as well.
- Want to be Relevant- As aforementioned, Carleton is an extremely driven as a volleyball program. Their goals are to continue their climb up the MIAC standings. Last season they finished 5-6, good for a tie in 5th place. However, they were unable to make the playoffs because of their head-to-head matches against the other MIAC teams. However, this Carleton team has seen a significant improvement over the years, especially after going 1-10 in the 2013 season. The players and coaches want to be seen as a legitimate and relative team in the MIAC who can give top teams a run for their money.
- Offensive Versatility- On offense, the Knights are extremely versatile with hitters who can
Carleton blockers call the opponents setter's location
during a scrimmage at St. Olaf.
- Experienced leadership- Carleton brings back four seniors for their 2015 season. These four seniors have experienced everything and have seen the team grow from a last place finish in the conference to a tie for fifth. As much as anyone else, these four leaders want to keep improving in the MIAC standings and want to prove they are a relevant team. These four seniors also embody both Carleton and the Division III's philosophy of what it means to be a student-athlete, meaning they younger players have four excellent role models to look up to.
Senior defensive specialist Ashley Shin celebrates with teammates
- Get Excited- The Knights do not hold back whenever they win a point. They are constantly celebrating, cheering, and congratulating each other. It’s quite clear these girls love volleyball and their school. They want to represent Carleton and win as a team. That drives fuels their play and celebrations whenever they win a point.
Thanks to Coach Jaynes and the Carleton team for talking to me in between their scrimmages. The Knights open play on September 1 at the St. Olaf invitational. Then, they travel to Colorado Springs and Macalester for two tournaments before hosting Hamline to open their conference schedule.
Where to next?Same tournament, new court. Up next: the Hamline University Pipers who hope to exceed all expectations in the 2015 season. Be sure to tune into Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, where I’ll be posting live from their scrimmages as well. Also, make sure to check out Matt’s Football Camp Tour to read even more about your favorite MIAC programs!