As the fall athletic season comes to an end, I sat down with Senior Captains Perry Hamm ’17 and Annie Roberts ’17 to learn more about their experience on the court this fall. With one game to play in their careers as Deerfield volleyball players, the two leaders expressed how excited they were about the direction the team is headed under first year Head Coach Khaleh Thomas. Perry is a four-year letter winner in volleyball and Annie, who entered DA as a new sophomore is soaking up every minute of her third year on the team.
What is the team culture like?
This year, we have a very tight knit group of genuine friends, and there is a strong sense of team unity. Both coaches and managers have jumped into practices, allowing the team to scrimmage which has been a lot of fun! One of the main reasons the team is so close this year is because everyone including the coaches truly care about the well-being of each individual and shows that by asking how each other is feeling and how our day went on a regular basis. The entire volleyball program in general has also been closer as well thanks in large part to the runs we do with the junior varsity team on Fridays. Monday night team dinners have also been a great contributor to this team’s cohesion. Every member of our team enjoys coming to practice on a daily basis!
What is the biggest hurdle this team has overcome?
Our biggest challenge this year has been injuries and our small roster numbers. Not having our full roster has been tough at times as less numbers takes away options on the court which has hurt us at crucial points in games. We truly believe that our record does not reflect the skill level of this team. We have been incredibly hard working and have players that played and fought through injuries in order to help us succeed. We didn’t necessarily see this year as a rebuilding year, we wanted to focus on restructuring the team’s attitude and I think we’ve done that despite some of the challenges with numbers and injuries that were thrown our way.
What has been your focus as captains?
As captains, our main objective was to lay the foundation for the program to move forward after we graduate. We have truly enjoyed our experience as members of this program and we want those to follow to be able to do the same. Our philosophy is based on a few basic principles that include equality, an investment in our teammates, open communication and most of all we want every day to be FUN! Our jobs have also been made easier because of the competitiveness and commitment that Jared Strauss, Griffin Thomas and our two managers Taylor Roberts and Ben Hirsch have brought to our scrimmages. We have truly appreciated their energy, enthusiasm and dedication to our team this year!
What are you excited about most for this coming weekend and how does it feel to be playing in your final Choate day?
Last year we had an epic match against Choate. We typically have a tough time against them, but last year every game was close. We even managed to steal a game, losing the match 3-1. We can remember being disappointed at the end because we truly felt like we could have won. Last year we had a great crowd and we are looking forward to the same kind of support early Saturday morning. Volleyball is a great spectator sport and we hope to compete!
What message would you leave for returning players?
Be competitive, continue the strong sense of team unity that this year’s team has adopted and the results will come. Bring energy every day and believe that you can win any game. Have fun and “do what you do and do it well!”