Injuries spike volleyball team

The Elder Volleyball team, which is always among the elite in Ohio, looked strong during the preseason. However, injuries have plagued the team and three of the original 15 players selected for the team have been injured. The future of Elder volleyball is completely unknown as the line up has been changed quite a bit and younger players dominate the starting positions. Three rotations of six now consist of only one senior and five juniors. However, the talent of the younger players is strong and the only thing lacking in their arsenal is experience. Ben Luebbe, a sophomore on the varsity team, was the first player to go down with an injury. During practice, Luebbe landed on a teammate’s foot after blocking and sprained his ankle. “I knew something was wrong the moment I went down,” Luebbe said, “it just didn’t feel right at all.” Landing on someone’s foot is one of the biggest fears of the sport. Along with hitting knees, injuries occurring from these events are extremely common. Luebbe was only on the sidelines for a week and missed only one regular season game. He still has to go to the trainer, Amie, before every practice and stretch his ankle out. Hopefully, this injury hasn’t had an effect on Luebbe’s performance and he can work his way back into the starting rotation. The next player to go down was Joe Sansone. The anticipated starting setter, his injury was similar to losing the team’s point guard, head varsity coach Sean Tierney said. In the first scrimmage of the year, the senior setter collided with another teammate while diving for a ball. Sansone ended up with a fractured clavicle and is likely out for the duration of his senior season. “At first the doctor didn’t think it was that bad of a break, but I got more x-rays that showed the bone shattered and unaligned,” Sansone said. Fortunately, it is unlikely that the senior will need surgery, but it will probably take many weeks for the bone to completely heal. Sansone says he will still contribute to the team as much as he can and try to be a leader from the bench. Another senior, Henry Voellmecke also suffered another accidental injury. During practice, Hank fell over a fellow player and landed on his thumb. The trainer hasn’t yet been able to determine what the problem is and Hank hasn’t had x-rays yet. On the bright side, he is able to practice now in certain drills so he isn’t missing out too much. Hank also saw some playing time during the home opener against Roger Bacon. “Right now I just want to make sure I don’t want to make it worse but I also don’t want to miss out on playing time,” Hank said. Before every practice, Hank is found in the trainer’s room with Amie, stretching out his hand and performing exercises. With only five seniors on the team, the loss of two is staggering. The younger players are learning to take advantage of their playing time and making every practice count. The panthers are still hoping to make a deep run in the state tournament. Also, the team is building a foundation for the next few years. Although the team is young, the team is also extremely talented. Elder volleyball certainly has a bright future and the younger players are capitalizing on the playing time they may not have expected to receive. A lot of lessons can be learned here, but one stands out the most: appreciation. None of the injured players saw themselves on the bench this year and they certainly don’t enjoy it. All athletes take advantage of the time they have whether it be in the weight room, in practice or during a game. One second, you could be complaining about doing sprints on the steps, and the next wanting nothing more than to be capable of running without pain. To injured players, it is extremely frustrating to see their team struggle. The only thing they constantly think of is the positive impact they may be capable of if they weren’t stuck on the bench. However, the seniors have great trust in the young players and don’t want to give up on the team. Elder volleyball still has great potential and hopes the Elder nation won’t give up on them this season.