While many Seton Hall students were spending their summer at the shore or working, the women’s volleyball team was in the gym practicing six days a week for seven hours a day.
The team moved back on campus Aug. 9 to begin preseason preparation, three weeks before students moved in on Aug. 27.
Summer two-a-day practices and workouts began promptly at 8 a.m. and lasted until noon. The first hour of practice consisted of lifting weights and the final three hours were filled with drills.
The second practice of the day was from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The final three hours of the two-a-days is when the team plays volleyball-specific games and scrimmages against each other, senior Sarah Osmun said.
The team practices on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7:30-9:30 a.m. Many of the players have to take a quick shower and head off to class at 10 a.m. with their hair still dripping wet.
These practices consist of mini-games and drills as well as intense warm ups that leave the team “pretty sweaty” junior Krissy Wrobel said.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays many members of the team get out of class at 3:45 p.m. and hustle to the Richie Reagan Recreation Center for practice, nonstop from 4-6 p.m.
“It’s a grind,” head coach Kris Zeiter said. “People don’t realize how hard the days are.”
Most days, setters and certain hitters stay after for extra work. Afterward, the players get food and retire to their rooms to do homework before they need to repeat the same schedule again.
Last year, the Pirates played in their first Big East Championship tournament since 1994.
Their work off the court in the classroom left them with eight Big East Academic All-Stars.
This past weekend, Seton Hall traveled to California to participate in the Hilton Garden Inn Classic hosted by University of California-Berkeley.
The Pirates were 0-3 in the tournament playing against No. 10 California as well as top west coast teams Fresno State and UC Davis.
“Last weekend was our hardest overall weekend of the season,” Zeiter said.
“It’s bittersweet,” Wrobel said. “California is known for volleyball and we played well out there but they were just better.”
The players left class early on Thursday to fly across the country and did not get into their hotel rooms until around 11 p.m.
They woke up early Friday morning for breakfast, had a light practice and walk through, arriving at the arena two hours before game time to warm up.
The weekend consisted of two more matches on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., leaving little time to go sightseeing.
On Sunday, they took a 4 a.m. flight and arrived back in New Jersey in the late afternoon to brace themselves for the early morning practices again.
“It’s tough to handle at times, but it feels great to win and keep people in the stands,” Osmun said.
The Pirates now have a new tradition of wearing bright green shirts on game day.
“We’re trying to make ourselves more visible.” senior Sarah Osmun said.
Coach Zeiter also initiated the goal to go undefeated at home.
“[They gym]’s been the loudest it’s ever been and I want to keep it that way,” Zeiter said. “We play up-tempo and our style of play is fun for people to watch.”
The Pirates will host UMBC in its first match of the SHU invitational in Walsh Gymnasium on Sept. 17 at 8 p.m.
Colin Rajala can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.