Photo Credit: FitchburgFalcons.com
by Katie Carroll
For the first time in 13 years, Fitchburg State has reinstated a women’s volleyball team. As of 2016, the team held open tryouts in the first week of September, allowing anyone the chance to display their ability. The hope was to compose a strong, division three ready team. While most teams had already been practicing since early August, FSU was still considered a “club team” for their first year.
Since the fall of 2016, Fitchburg State’s Women’s Volleyball has transitioned to a full division three varsity team and has achieved the first win for the university since the school originally had a team in 2003. For the coaches and players, the difference between playing a varsity versus a club team has been astounding, “A lot has changed, the drive, the motivation, even the intensity at practices has increased. I think it’s something we really needed after last season,” said junior setter Jacque Manyak.
Coach Victor Wirkkala, who has been with the Falcons in their last two seasons, has made sure a difference between club and varsity was set for the returning players, “Talent is a big difference, we really set a standard for it this year. Last year the club was looking for anybody that had potential, this year you had to have a standard of skills.” Coach Wirkkala also spoke about the newfound respect the team has gained as a varsity team saying that “our gym time has become a priority this year, the club doesn’t get a priority but we’re a varsity team and we don’t have to share our court anymore. We’re not a club anymore, we’re a program and our time is respected.”
While the Falcons have not had the most successful season thus far, spirits are high and The Flock is hopeful for what is to come.