By Andrew Smith
For Adelphi athletes who are entering their senior year, the focus is on being ready to
win and making special memories. Among these is senior Samantha Collins of the women’s volleyball team, who reflected on her time at Adelphi to date and explained what steps she has been taking during the off season to prepare for her fourth and final season as an undergraduate.
Collins is a physical education major and is planning to complete her master’s in health education. But she said that after graduation in spring 2023, if she were given the opportunity to continue to play volleyball, she would strongly consider it.
Collins reflected on the time she has spent on the team. “The team and I, as a senior player, have grown in tremendous ways and are very excited to play together this season,” she said. “All of the girls have a chemistry that exists both on and off the court and will definitely be noticeable this upcoming season.”
In both college and professional sports, veteran players often serve as a role model for the younger and less experienced athletes. Collins explained her thoughts on being a role model in the upcoming season.
“As a soon-to-be fourth-year player I would consider myself one of the many role models on the team. As an upperclassman, I think it’s super important to guide the underclassmen in
both athletics and academics,” she said. “I know my way around the locker room and the Adelphi campus as well as the time management that is required to be a student athlete. This is what I try to pass on to the younger players. It is the upperclassmen’s responsibility to guide them both on and off the court to make sure we become the strongest team we can be.”
Collins elaborated on what it has meant to be a Panther and why she chose to attend this university. “We do everything together and everyone is extremely encouraging and supportive of one another. Throughout my years here, everyone has displayed these qualities, which has allowed us to be a close-knit team,” she said.
Last season, Collins achieved several important career accomplishments. She set a new personal best of 151 kills and a high in kills in a single game. In volleyball, a kill is awarded to a player when the opposing team cannot return the ball following an attack.
“Self-achievements are always on my radar,” she said. “I am consistently seeking personal records in the gym, on the court and in the classroom. I think this is what constantly makes me a better player and student and drives me to make progress every semester.”
The importance of off-season training cannot be overstated. Collins explained what goes into her training and why it plays such an important role in her game. “Consistency is key. Getting as many reps as possible during practice is super important. Hard work in practice is definitely transferred into games.”
Collins added, “Our strength and conditioning coach Keith Jonathan Ferrara gives us our strength and sprinting workout plans. I follow his specific workout to ensure that I’m getting the best training during the summer.”
Head coach Danielle MacKnight, who has coached Collins for three seasons, also praised the hard work the new senior puts in every year. “Sam is an incredible athlete who is very coachable. She has put work in each and every day on the court and in the weight room,” MacKnight said. “She has gotten stronger, quicker and smarter as a volleyball player over her time here.”
Collins emphasized the important role of her coaching staff and teammates throughout the years she has played, but also stressed the importance of her family.
“My family is super important to me. They have always supported me in everything I do and have helped me become the player and person that I am today,” she said. “They helped to motivate me on and off the court and are there by my side when I need them the most.”
The senior also stated what she is most looking forward to this upcoming season. “I personally look forward to every match on the schedule. Pre-season, mid-season and postseason all are exciting to be a part of and give me the opportunity to play my heart out on the court,” she said.
Collins even reflected on becoming a coach and sharing her love of the game. “I would love to help get others involved in volleyball, especially the younger athletes,” she said. “I would definitely consider coaching after graduating.”