First Year Volleyball Players Beat Greatest Challenge: Adjusting to Collegiate Sport

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All first-years come to Bates nervous about something. Sometimes the nerves come from anticipation of schoolwork, heartache of leaving home, or anxiety over getting lost. For athletes, the nerves exist as a part of joining a new team and performing at the collegiate level.

The difference between playing a sport in high school and playing a sport in college is monumental. The pace, the athleticism, and the commitment of a college sport make joining very intimidating. Subsequently, this transition can be difficult. As well as being in a new place with strange people, first-year athletes have a responsibility of adjusting to all the new parts that come along with being on a collegiate team. Each player must push him or herself to perform at the best of their ability, while simultaneously creating relationships with their teammates.

Whether they are a Division III or a Division I athlete, all athletes are nervous about not adjusting well to college life. However, for Bates College women’s volleyball players, Angel Echipue ‘19 and Delaney Mayfield ‘19, the adjustment has been nothing short of smooth and effortless.

A Munich native, Angel Echipue leads her team in points scored. The middle hitter, who chose Bates because of its academically and athletically competitive nature, credits her easy college transition to her fellow Bobcats.

“I’m adjusting to playing college volleyball fairly easily because the group of girls I play with are very encouraging and from day one made me feel like I was a part of the team,” she says.

Echipue’s favorite part of her Bates experience so far has included the joys of being a part of a team. She has especially enjoyed traveling with the volleyball team.

“I love to see new and different places and traveling for volleyball allows me to do that,” she says.

An outside hitter from Santa Barbara, California, Delaney Mayfield has also found comfort adjusting to college in the Bates women’s volleyball team.

Mayfield, who chose Bates in part because of the nice people and easy set-up of campus, admits that the game is, “definitely a different pace than high school.” That being said, she has enjoyed the team aspect as the “girls and coaches are all so nice and supportive.”

With this past weekends’ losses to Tufts University and Bowdoin College, the Bates women’s volleyball team record stands at 0-2 in the conference. However, this does not discourage Echipue or Mayfield, who both have big goals and aspirations for the rest of the season.

Echipue’s personal goal is to work on a more powerful swing and to establish quicker footwork, and Mayfield explains that she speaks for herself and her team when she says “the goal is to make it to both the NESCAC and NCAA tournaments this year.”

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