By Andrew Smith
2022 was a season to remember for Adelphi’s volleyball team. The Panthers finished with an exceptional overall record of 23-11 and a 10-2 conference record. Their success clinched them a spot in the NCAA Division II Tournament. Adelphi defeated the #4 seed Jefferson University and the top seed American International College on their way to the East Regional Final. However, their unbelievable run ended with a loss to Southern New Hampshire University in the Sweet Sixteen.
Middle blocker Delaney Kiendra, a junior human resource management major, reflected on last season. “During the season, we had a lot of open team discussions about what it was going to take in order to make it, and as a team, we emphasized that every single person has to want it. Anyone who has come to our games can tell that we are a super high-energy team, focusing on cheering our teammates on and making it a super fun and competitive environment,” she said. Kiendra suffered an injury during the first week of the preseason, which changed her perspective. Instead of being a powerful force on the court, she had to find a way to inspire her teammates from the sidelines. Senior Samantha Meehan added, “We got second place in our league (NE10) and the region, which was disappointing because we wanted to win both our league and region, and we were so close both times. Despite being such a successful season, it left a bitter taste in my mouth because we were so close to winning it all.” “Our team has learned even more grit and seems hungrier than ever to win,” the biochemistry major continued. Kiendra added, “Coming off of that loss while we were super proud of ourselves for even making it that far, especially after not making it to the tournament the year prior, it left something to be desired for us as a team.” The drive to be better is what pushes athletes during the off-season. This is the perfect opportunity to fine-tune any loose skills and be even more prepared for the long season that awaits.
Meehan explained, “In the off-season, we focused on perfecting the little details in our form and execution, so when it comes to tight games where everything matters, we can focus on the bigger details and not have to focus on doing the small things correctly.” “For me specifically, there was a large focus on cleaning up technique both offensively and defensively, which all comes with getting back into the groove of playing competitively again,” said Kendra.
While discussing her team’s progress, Meehan described the group as “scrappy” and fighting on every play. “I think our team improved greatly in the off-season, mainly in areas of our game such as serve receive and covering our hitters when they are being blocked. We as a team are also scrappier than ever picking up balls that would have hit the floor in the past.” Both players expressed interest and enthusiasm for their upcoming match with American International College on Sept. 30. The Panthers defeated American International College last season in the NCAA Tournament and are looking forward to another challenging rematch. The Panthers are off to an incredible start as they won their first two home games by a score of 3-0 and are sure to carry this momentum through the long season. Be sure to check out the home schedule and support our Panthers as they look to make their way back into the NCAA Tournament.