It starts in high school.
Swirlies and cheap shots, kick-me signs and stealing lunch
Freshmen just get picked on – it’s a fact of life. This is in
stark contrast to the seniors. Strutting their stuff, living it up
as they rule the turf – seniors know they are bulletproof.
Students face these same stages when it comes to college life as
Freshmen walk into a packed lecture hall and sit down; then they
turn bright red and sprint out when they have the wrong class. No
clue. Seniors design their schedules so that they won’t have
classes before noon or on Fridays. They have it all figured
These opposing stages of life meld together everywhere, even on
the volleyball court.
From all appearances in practice this preseason, the two
different walks of life have synergistically combined to form a
There is quite a contrast in the players’ experience under the
direction of this year’s head coach Tom Hilbert, but he said they
interact like a family.
“(They are) kids of great character,” Hilbert said.
“Cohesiveness is something they bring.”
Through leadership and team unity, underclassmen players like
Mekana Barnes have been smoothly integrated into the team. Barnes
joins the team this year as a freshman from ThunderRidge High
School in Highlands Ranch.
“They make me feel comfortable and encourage me all the time,”
Barnes said of the more experienced players.
The transition is vital when making the jump from high school
ball to the much more intense college level.
“High school volleyball is not even close,” Barnes said.
“College ball is a step up from anything I’ve ever
Conversely, five seniors and a strong pair of returning juniors
bring a wealth of experience and leadership to the team.
“We have a really balanced team,” said senior setter Melissa
Courtney. “Many players become leaders at different times in the
This will be important when CSU faces off against the intense
opposition throughout the season.
Junior Tess Rogers also summed up the approach to the season
“Any one at any time can step up and play,” Rogers said.
There is a copious amount of talent displayed by both rookies
and vets, which promises to yield excitement for this season and
for years to come.
This team blends knowledge and experience with new energy.
Hence, while freshmen volleyballers may be nervously wandering
around campus like lost souls in this first week of classes, it is
a safe bet that they will not be running amok on the volleyball
Breakdown by Year:
1 redshirt freshman
1 sophomore transfer