After winning every Ivy game this season, the women’s volleyball team is going from strength to strength. Saturday’s 3-0 victory against Penn ensured an eight-game winning streak and put the team in strong contention for this week’s home game against Brown. One player that has contributed particularly to this success is outside hitter Mollie Rogers ’15, who was named Ivy League Rookie of the Year and First-Team All-Ivy last season. The News sat down with Rogers to talk about her hopes for this season and what she thinks is giving Yale such an edge over the other Ivies.
Q: First of all, congratulations on a fantastic season. Why do you think Yale is having such success this year?
A: We have really good team chemistry this year — that’s always been something that’s been really important to us. I think we’re all in it for the same goal. We are just so focused right now and that’s so helpful — that’s one of the reasons why we’re a great team.
Q: Does the team have any specific goals for the season?
A: Our main goal is to win the Ivy League, but we try not to talk about that. Winning our next match is always our focus. For example, we’re playing Brown this weekend, so we’re focusing on them and what their hitters do. It’s really important to take it each week at a time and put everything in perspective.
Q: How easy is it to get used to a new team each season?
A: It’s definitely really hard — when I came in as a freshman, I didn’t know many people on the team, and it’s hard to get comfortable with people at first. But you have to become family with them. It takes time to get used to how everyone plays on the court, as everybody has a different style. Now we’re about halfway through the season, we’ve established a nice idea of how everyone works on the court.
Q: Do you consider Harvard as your biggest rival?
A: Harvard, absolutely. Princeton and Penn are also consistently good. Princeton has the best record next to us this year. The Ivy League is really interesting as each year the teams can completely change. Every year they are getting better and improving at such a fast rate. It’s really different from a lot of the bigger conferences, such as the NCAA and the West Coast, where there are one or two big teams — you have to watch out for everyone.
Q: How would you describe the team dynamic?
A: We’re like family. I’ll go one day without seeing them and it feels like we haven’t spoken in forever. But we’re all very competitive and each person wants to win more than the next. In practice we’re all just trying to beat each other but then afterwards we’re just a family again.
Q: Can you tell me about how practice works?
A: Each day is different. We’ll generally split time between talking about whatever team we’re playing next and how we will adapt to play against them, and practicing passing and serving. We also scrimmage a lot, which is how we put in place the things we learned in practice.
Q: Do things feel different now as a sophomore?
A: It’s definitely different. I actually know how everything works, but at the same time, it’s both more difficult and easier as a sophomore. You have to deal with not being the main focus, but each year the goal stays the same — to win.
Q: What was your most memorable match or moment at Yale?
A: The match when we beat Princeton at home last year was really cool because that’s when we clinched the Ivy League title.
Q: Do you have any sporting superstitions?
A: I always wear my hair in the same way and wear a bow in my hair every single match. Last year a couple of my teammates hated it, but I had to do it, and this year a couple of my teammates do it too.
Q: What do you do to get motivated before a game?
A: I do the same thing before each game, sit in the locker-room, listen to music, and sometimes do my homework. It helps to do other things before a big game and not think about volleyball.
Q: Do you find the discipline required to be an athlete helps you in other areas?
A: Absolutely. The leadership qualities that you learn being on a team — how to share, compete, and communicate with other people — can completely transfer to other areas of life.