T is for Teammate: Club President holds team together

Grad student JT Taylor walks away as Franklin sophomore Sarah Doom, center, hugs Bowling Green senior and WKU Women’s Club Volleyball president Amanda Howard, right, during practice on Monday in the Preston Center. “Whenever we actually have the entire team together, we really come together, we really click, and its awesome to see for once that we actually have a very competitive team,” Howard said.

Alexis Custard

Volleyball nets and 14 faces of determination filled a crowded room as the WKU Women’s Club Volleyball team geared up with its president, Bowling Green senior Amanda Howard, at practice last week.

Club volleyball doesn’t have as strenuous practices or as lengthy schedules as the university volleyball team, Howard said. They have two practices a week for two hours each and must pay team fees. They don’t receive scholarships for playing.

Howard, a recreation administration major, has been president of the team for one year, and according to the other players, she is a good teammate on and off the court and is a key ingredient in keeping the team together.

Radcliff junior Callie Thomas met Howard almost a year ago and was very impressed with the way she held the team together, she said.

“Her maturity and experience with volleyball brings us all together,” Thomas said. “She’s the backbone of our team.”

Bowling Green freshman Christina Casas said even if they are losing a game, Howard has heart and won’t give up no matter what.

“She stays positive and keeps encouraging us to play hard,” Casas said.

Thomas said Howard has the love and passion for volleyball that she looks for in any great teammate.

“She’s a well-rounded player, which makes her very versatile on the court,” Thomas said. “Not only is she talented, but I can always depend on her to be there for me on and off the court. I know she will.”

Casas played against Howard last year on a recreation league and officially met her last semester. She decided to play for Howard’s team because everyone was really friendly and welcoming, Casas said.

“My first impression of her was that she was really organized and kept her stuff straight,” Casas said.

The team has traveled to Lexington, St. Louis, Cincinnati and South Carolina to play. Schools such as Virginia Tech and Middle Tennessee have traveled to WKU to play against the team.

Its a year-round sport, and the team tries to have two tournaments a semester, Howard said.

Last semester there were problems organizing tournaments because of schedules. There weren’t enough teams to play, she said.

“It was mainly because teams are busy, and the tournaments fall through,” Howard said. Or the girls get busy with work and school and have to cancel.”

Thomas also acknowledged that the team has faced some adversity.

“A lot of negative comments have been made toward the team that we’re unorganized or don’t take it seriously, but regardless of what’s been said, I can count on my team to be there, and we all have the will to win and we deserve it,” she said.

Howard said she holds her team together by making sure everyone is on the same page, having a good time, enjoying themselves and feeling like they are a part of team.

The team hasn’t played many games yet this semester, but the women have a 4-3 record, she said.

“I know what the girls are capable of and the level that they’re playing at,” Howard said. “They’re a good team, and I keep them motivated and try to help them see what I see in them.”