By Jay Wu
NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. – As the upperclassmen students on the New Kensington branch campus have noticed from past experience, the first month of this school year has been about welcoming the new freshmen to our Penn State campus.
As expected, a college environment includes more challenges and a different set of rules for participating in athletics and being involved around campus. Women’s Volleyball is one of three fall sports that students can get involved with on campus.
Assistant Coach, Brad Sauder, explained that there are certain standards that students are expected to meet while playing a sport. “From an academic standpoint, we are actually implementing around the athletics. All athletic departments need to have a 2.5 GPA or above which is starting this week. This is something that we are mimicking from Penn State Fayette,” Sauder said. “A lot of times, students come here and have the idea that they’re just going to play sports but really, this is about a campus with academics and then athletics.” These new standards fall into effect in the fifth week of the semester since there have been several weeks for the students to become accustomed to their courses and to do testing, completing homework assignments, and working on projects.
Sauder also added that the New Kensington branch and sports’ team coaches recognize that they are facing other universities with higher education standards and levels, but as a team, they are working day in and day out to provide students with what they need. Sauder pointed out that the team is made up of quiet individuals, but communication between the players and the coaches is essential in order to be successful
The Women’s Volleyball team and coaches are already aware of the teams that are going to provide the toughest challenges. The team will be playing the Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) and the remainder of their games are against other Penn State branches. Sauder explained that the Western Penn State teams such as Fayette, Greater Allegheny, Du Bois, and Beaver are the biggest rivals because they are all branch campuses in the same region and each of those teams are faced twice. While Eastern teams are only faced once throughout the fall semester.
Freshman, Bethany Weiblinger, from Apollo-Ridge compared her high school team experience to her new college experience. “I think college is more involved, it’s more serious, volleyball games in high school were just about playing for fun” Weiblinger said. “The environment is a lot different too. The girls are more into it like they’ve been playing more.”
Weiblinger also explained how she feels more accepted and supported by her Penn State New Kensington team, while in high school it was more about cliques and that there is also bickering and gossip between people. However, playing on a high school team allowed her to know her team and the people she attended school with for a long time, which made it easier sometimes to work together and play the game.
On September 17th, the Women’s Volleyball team played a home game against the Penn State Beaver branch campus. After a strong effort and team work, the New Kensington women were defeated with a score of 3-0, Beaver. The team will have a chance to redeem themselves against the Beaver campus.
As mentioned from the assistant coach, they get to have a rematch but it’s an away game. Their rematch against Beaver is on Tuesday, Oct. 6. Let’s hope they can win their rematch and continue to demonstrate teamwork and courage! WE ARE….PENN STATE!