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Dig This - Preseason off the Court

Fiorella Bellini and Sarah Frohnapfel at an IronPigs game.

Aug. 25, 2011

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Junior Sarah Frohnapfel reviews the various off-court activities that were a large part of the Leopards' preseason experience.

When you think of preseason, you generally envision two weeks of non-stop "practice, eat, sleep, repeat." But, for our sanity, we like to throw some fun in there as well. While there was plenty of conditioning, lifting and as much volleyball as one could imagine, the days were broken up by activities that brought us together as a team.

Our off-court adventures included tubing down the Delaware River, IronPigs baseball games, pool workouts and our very own master chef Fiorella Bellini teaching us all how to make gnocchi (pronounced "knee-OH-key", to my surprise). While the upperclassmen made this Italian feast, the freshmen had dinner at Rosie Bukics' house. Rosie is a professor at Lafayette who is also our volleyball team's faculty mentor, academic advisor and one of our biggest fans. For years, she has been kind enough to host the freshmen for a night of getting to know one another and a much-needed home-cooked meal.

While it is easy to become absorbed by our own needs during a time like this, we made a point to give back to the community during our two weeks of preseason. The entire team traveled to Safe Harbor Hospitality House to help in any way we could. We truly divided and conquered, serving food, organizing donated goods and clothes and making hygiene bags for the residents. It's always rewarding to give back, and the residents and workers were extremely thankful to have our extra hands for the day.

The highlight of preseason for the past three years has undoubtedly been the day at Coach Campbell's lake house. Just when the team is starting to get overwhelmed by exhaustion, we are rewarded with a day of team bonding, relaxation and LOTS of food. The upperclassmen like to make this day a surprise to the freshmen, which proved to be quite a challenge this year. A few of them were suspicious, so we went to great lengths to create uncertainty about this mysterious blank day on the schedule. Naturally, we decided to trick the freshmen into thinking it was a day of extreme conditioning. We went so far as to warm-up, get on the line and run a sprint. As the freshmen rounded the corner of the track, the upperclassmen jumped out and screamed "SURPRISE! WE'RE GOING TO THE LAKE!" Their reaction made the white lies more than worth it.

As juniors, our past preseasons are a bit of a blur. There are vague memories of soreness, early morning alarm clocks and the beginnings of team cohesiveness in the works. But what will stick out most from this preseason are the things that happened when the volleyballs were packed away for the night. From Gina Morrone's painful front flip turned bellyflop off the high drive, to Karissa Ciliento looking like a five-year-old jumping on Coach's trampoline to Aidan Guilfoyle being so happy about going to the lake that she actually teared up, a team somehow came together. After two weeks of being there for each other for all the highs and the lows, we can't wait to see how we translate our chemistry to the court!

- Sarah