VOLLEYBALL | Rookie impresses

During her first two months as outside hitter for Yale varsity volleyball (13–5, 7–1 Ivy), Mollie Rogers ’15 averaged 3.14 kills, the highest on her team, and 11 digs per set. The team makes a total average of 17.86 digs and 13.57 kills per set. Rogers was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week for the third time this season after the Bulldogs swept Brown last weekend. The News met with Rogers to discuss her season and how sports can promote community awareness.

Q: The team has had a very strong season so far. What would you say contributes to your team’s success?

A: Passion is a big part of our team’s success. Last year we were co-champions in the Ivy League, but this year we really want to be the champions. For the freshmen coming in, we want to start off our years strong, and for the girls who are sophomores, they want a solo win. That desire and passion is driving our success.

Q: What appeals to you about volleyball?

A: There’s always something happening. I love the excitement, and I love the energy. For example, my high school team won state both my junior and senior years. The games we won before the state finals were held in our home gym against rival schools. There was electricity in the gym, caused by the combination of our intensity and our fans’ excitement. Games like that are why I play volleyball.

Q: What is the team like this year?

A: We bonded well as a team together — we’re not just teammates, we’re friends. That contributes to a strong unity on and off the court. There’s a mutual respect between all of us, for example between seniors and freshmen, freshmen aren’t just lackeys and that contributes to a strong team.

Q: You also have the smallest team in the Ivy League. How does that affect play?

A: We don’t really let our small roster affect us. I think it’s a good thing because you don’t have three players for each position, so it pushes everyone to go 100 percent.

We also have a sort of young team, with more freshmen and sophomores than upperclassmen. Obviously the freshmen and sophomores haven’t been playing collegiate volleyball for as long, but we try not to focus on that. We’re always trying to get better at connecting and meshing on the court.

Q: What are the big matches to watch out for next month?

A: This Friday we play Columbia on the road. Last time we played Columbia it was pretty close, but we won. We sort of look at every match as a must-win match.

Q: How do you spend your time when not on the court?

A: I’m trying to get involved with community service because there are a lot of opportunities for athletes, especially for athletes that don’t have as much free time … My high school has a really strong community service program and it really just gave me a love for community service. Even though we had a requirement for hours, it just always seemed like something you just did. I really hope that love will carry over in college and for the rest of my life.

Q: What service activities have you participated in previously?

A: My junior and senior year in high school, I started a Dig Pink event — a volleyball game that raises money for breast cancer.

Dig Pink was sort of my main operation. We did it once a year. We tried to pick a big game for us. We sold T-shirts, did bake sales and wore ribbons. We had a ‘Pink Day’ at school where everyone wore pink. We raised around $1,600 each year and donated the money to the Susan G. Komen foundation. We had [Dig Pink] a couple weeks ago at Dartmouth on Oct. 7. The decision to do it was already in place when I got here, but I want to help out more with it next year.

Q: What connection do you see between athleticism and community service?

A: Sports are a great way to promote community service. Raising awareness at a game or working on a project as a team are easy and fun ways to accomplish community service. Games like Dig Pink are fun because people are not only there to cheer on their team, but also there to help a very important cause.

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