It is hard to put into words everything that Babson volleyball has meant to me. Reflecting back on my four years at Babson is bittersweet. I am sad it is over, but it has been the best four years of my life and all I can say is thank you. Thank you for the love and support through the highs and lows. The adversity has made me the stronger player and the woman I am today.
I remember how difficult choosing a college was for me. As I narrowed down schools, a great education was my first priority. Once I found Babson, met coach Neely, and visited the team, I knew I could see myself going to school here. Not only a great school, but I could play volleyball. After being on a club volleyball team that was so close, I was worried I wouldn't find that again. Coach Neely ensured me this was not just a volleyball program but a family, and a family for life. And it has been just that. My teammates are lifelong friends and I am beyond thankful for them.
Over the years, it has been really special seeing the growth of myself and Babson volleyball. Starting my freshman year, we were a young team that graduated a big senior class. College volleyball was a different game and I learned that quickly. Although the season had many successes, we fell short in the conference championship match. This obviously was not the way we wanted to end, but we were excited to get back in the gym during the offseason and come back better next season. However, in the first week of April, we faced a devastating loss of a teammate, Olivia. This tragedy brought emotions most of us had never felt before. After going through this, we understood that this team was more than a volleyball team. We were truly a family on and off the court.
Coming back for my sophomore year, I could already tell it was going to be a good year for Babson volleyball. Again, a young team with no seniors, we did not realize how good we were. After going 18-8 in the regular season, we were excited about the postseason. Unfortunately, we fell short again in the conference semifinal match. However, thankfully NCAA saw the talent we had and gave us an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament! A 9.5-hour bus ride, a fired bus driver, and a 102 fever, we arrived in Potsdam, New York. What a journey, but hey, Babson volleyball was used to adversity. As the underdogs of the tournament, we had a nothing-to-lose mentality. This was our best volleyball all season, upsetting Clarkson and finishing in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.
Junior year only got better. Now that we knew our full potential after a great NCAA run, this season had new expectations and goals. We knew the road to a championship would not be easy, but that made us more motivated than ever. The season as always had its challenges and moments of disappointment, but we ended with a 26-9 overall record, clinched the NEWMAC championship, and went undefeated at home. The season only got better when we hosted the NCAA Tournament at Babson, winning the first three rounds in straight sets, earning our way to the national tournament in Pittsburgh. The NCAA Elite Eight and big stage of Pittsburgh is something I will never forget.
And finally, senior year. I never thought this would come but here we are. Another year of breaking records for Babson volleyball. During the regular season, we went 33-2, beating our previous year's record and again going undefeated at home. In addition, individually, I broke the all-time assist record, which was pretty special. As one of the best teams in New England, we were excited to head to the NCAA Tournament. We fought and finished in the second round, and although this was short of our goal, I am so proud of the team we were. We worked hard until the end and battled the entire season, and I still believe we were the best team in New England.
Wrapping up my career with three NCAA appearances, two NEWMAC championships, and the greatest teammates and coaches ever, I think I can say it has been a successful ride here at Babson. I want to thank my family, team, coaches, and everyone else along the way for making this experience amazing. This sport has set me up for success and taught me how to fail with grace. Volleyball has brought so much joy to my life, and for that, I am forever grateful.