Georgia outside hitter Kacie Evans (23) prepares to spike the ball across the net. The University of Georgia volleyball team faced off against Tennessee to win by a score of 3-1 on Oct. 4, 2019, in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/Kathryn Skeean, kskeean@randb.com)

For some freshmen on the Georgia volleyball team, such as Meghan Froemming and Alexa Fortin, the transition to college was easy. They both lived in Georgia, so they had the advantage of being close to home and knew a lot of people coming in. 

But players Kacie Evans and Londyn Gray didn’t have the same benefits coming from out of state.

“It was stressful for the first couple [of] weeks here, having homework that’s every single night,” Evans said. “But I know that I have a good support base here. Other than that, I think I’ve been doing pretty well, especially with traveling and everything.”

The Georgia volleyball staff and upperclassmen players have also helped all of the freshmen with their transition to a new life as a student athlete.

Everyone on the team, including the staff, picks a different person to ask three questions to each week to help them learn about each other and ask for advice. The team also held bonding activities during the summer, like bonfires and escape rooms, to help the freshmen get to know everyone on the team. 

“Luckily they come in during the summer, and I think our returners do a good job of bringing them in and showing them around,” head coach Tom Black said. “We try to check in with them a lot, especially in the beginning of the season, to make sure they’re doing okay, so they can feel like they can talk to us.”

Along with the transition to a new life in college, many freshmen on the volleyball team also have a hard time adjusting to the fact that they may not have a starting position like they had in high school or club volleyball.

Most of the freshmen were used to being one of the top players in high school. They find out quickly they need to grow to play the up-tempo pace of college volleyball.

“I don’t kick myself about [not playing much],” Gray said. “I try to use it as motivation and use it as an opportunity to get better. I make sure that I keep that perspective, which can be hard sometimes.” 

It isn’t common for freshmen to start on the team, and Evans has secured a spot on the court as a starter and has proven herself to be worthy of playing time, earning SEC Player of the Week honors as a freshman. 

Evans’ success has also motivated the other freshmen.  

“It’s been awesome being able to cheer on Kacie and see how everything worked out for her,” Froemming said. “We’ve been training really hard individually during practice to get ready for our opportunity, which has helped us grow really close.”  

The team has a wide variety of freshmen, and each brings their own specific talents to the team to help it succeed.  

But overall, the freshmen bring more than just talent to the team. They also bring new energy to begin a new season. Georgia volleyball’s success this season shows that the freshmen have helped push the team harder than they’ve been pushed in the past seasons. 

“Our new freshmen come new to the program, so they know they might not be getting spots on the court, but they come in guns-blazing talent wise,” senior Meghan Donovan said. “They end up stepping up our game and putting pressure on us.”

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