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Meet the Panthers: With AU Athletics Back in Action, Players Share Game Preparation Strategies

By Gerard Fiorenza iii

Adelphi sports are back in action after over a year and a half of pandemic-related restrictions and our athletes couldn’t be more excited.

“It's been amazing to have Adelphi sports back in action this year,” said men’s soccer player and graduate student Joseph Thomann, who plays defense. “In years past, I may have taken for granted just how amazing it is to be around your teammates and the environment at practice and during games. After this past year, I have such an appreciation for the opportunity to practice, joke with teammates, and have games again with family, friends and loved ones back in attendance.”

Thomann is currently one of the team’s captains, as well as a defensive player. He said so far the season is steadily running along.

Soccer player Joseph Thomann credits visualizing success alongside an efficient coaching staff with obtaining wins.

“We started off a bit rocky,” he said, “but I really think the group has shown a lot of character and determination to pull ourselves out of the hole we put ourselves in. In my final year, I have just been so thankful to be able to play with some of my closest friends. We have gotten back to our winning ways and I am hoping we can continue to keep pushing forward in conference play.”

Senior women’s volleyball player Grace Wegmann, a setter, also commented on the return to normalcy for the sport. “Truthfully, I feel incredibly lucky that I get the opportunity to have an actual and relatively normal season,” she said. “Having our season cancelled last year was really disheartening, so it's been great to finally be able to get back after it in the gym. I really appreciate how the Athletic Department is handling and enforcing the rules, guidelines and regulations to ensure that we're safe and able to play.”

Softball player Faith Camilleri utilizes making a schedule to balance academics with athletics.

Sophomore softball pitcher Claire Fon said she looked forward to supporting other teams. “It is very exciting to resume a sense of normalcy,” she said. “Especially after the past two years. We have been very happy to see others support our games as well as being able to attend other teams’ events. It has made being on campus very enjoyable.”

First-year softball player Faith Camilleri, who plays first base, said that the freshmen have been “an awesome addition to a team that already has a winning history. With fall games demonstrating the capability this team has, we are more excited than ever to get started in the spring,” she said.

Now that they’re back on their fields and courts, The Delphian asked some of the players how they prepare for a game outside of practices. Junior women’s volleyball player Katie Schloss, an outside hitter, said she finds her inspiration outside of practice through the use of visualization, music and a healthy diet.

“Outside of practices, I like to visualize how I want to play in a game,” she said. “I take time to myself before every game to think about everything I've learned in practice up until that point and narrow in on what I want to work on specifically. I also like to listen to music to truly get in the gameplay mindset, so that I can focus on playing for myself and my teammates. Not only is a correct mindset important for a game, but I make sure to eat right to keep my body in the correct shape.”

Thomann uses a similar approach to men’s soccer games in terms of visualization. “To prepare for games, I usually start the night before,” he said. “I try to visualize myself doing my job for the team and emerging with a victory. The day of, I usually try to take my mind off the game by doing school work or watching TV shows to keep myself distracted. Around four hours or so before the game, I get a pre-game meal and then go back to focusing on the game and what I need to do to help the team succeed. I arrive two hours before kickoff in the locker room to listen to music and continue getting excited and prepared for the game.”

Thomann also acknowledged the coaches in having an integral role as well. “An hour and a half before kickoff our coaching staff does a great job of getting us together to review our game plan of what we have gone over to further help us succeed.”

Wegmann cites watching films as a team as a key aspect to securing a volleyball match win. “We usually take notes on and analyze the best strategies for beating our future opponents based upon certain players' tendencies, which is really beneficial, ” she said, adding that listening to music also helps her game mentality. “I usually pop my airpods in and listen to music. It’s calming and gets me in the zone.”

Women’s Volleyball player Katie Schloss credits the athletics staff with successfully bringing back sports amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Student athletes have to balance their athletics with academics. Fon said making a schedule is helpful. “Personally, I try to write out my schedule and assignments that I have due so I can stay on top of my work,” she said. “I also print out the syllabus for each class and keep track of assignments I have completed. Something that is also helpful for me is having an agenda pad to track practices and class work.”

Fon also said that the balance between academics and sports is maintained via assistance from coaches. “Our coaches are very supportive when it comes to academics, they help us whenever we need.”

For Camilleri, establishing a set time to study and complete homework is the best way to balance out athletics and academics.

“It is important to create a schedule and stick to it as best as possible,” she said. “As athletes we need to take advantage of every free opportunity to focus on academics. Although sometimes tough, there is a lot of time management that needs to be done in order to truly balance athletics and academics. I am always using a planner and making lists of assignments I need to do. This helps me stay up to date with my assignments in all my classes and allows me to make sure I complete everything before the deadline. I also make sure to reach out to my professors and ask for help from them if and when I need it or am overwhelmed.”

No matter how they balance their time, thankfully now there are games back on their schedules. The Alumni Annual Softball game will be held today at noon at the softball field. The next men’s soccer game is on Oct. 19 in Waltham, Mass., at Bentley University against the Falcons. The next women’s volleyball game will be at home in the Center for Recreation and Sport on Oct. 19 at 7 pm as they take on the University of New Haven Chargers.

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