Aug 242004
Authors: Laura Epple

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

close-knit team.

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:

5 seniors

2 juniors

2 sophomores

1 redshirt freshman

1 sophomore transfer

4 freshmen

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