Sophomore volleyball player credits team chemistry
By Kevin Schrock
With the University of Findlay volleyball team rattling off wins in eight of their last nine games, sophomore outside hitter Amanda Winner has been racking up honors almost just as fast. The Versailles, Ohio native earned her second straight Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Player of the Week honor on Monday after posting some illusory numbers.
For Winner, volleyball was always her first love. Despite seeing success in other sports as well, it was clear early on what direction she wanted to take her athletic career.
“I started playing volleyball when I was in second grade,” said Winner. “I knew by the time I was in Jr. High that I wanted to play in college.”
While in high school Winner earned two first team all-conference picks in track while also tallying a second team all-conference pick in basketball.
Winner, who’s brother Steve was a tight end on the University’s football team back in 2010, ended up on campus after coach Wick Colchagoff saw her play at a club tournament.
“The recruiting process was pretty smooth,” said Winner. “I chose Findlay because the team seemed like a good fit for me and I liked how small and close knit the student body seemed. I also knew I wanted to study physical therapy and Findlay has a great program so being able to play volleyball here while studying physical therapy was an huge bonus and blessing.”
Despite taking a red shirt season her first year on campus, last year Winner jumped into the mix and saw herself play in 35 matches and record 410 kills, good enough for second on the team. To do that on a team with three All-Americans is no small task. Team success has always been important to Winner and the Oilers are seeing a lot of it this year.
“The team’s chemistry is amazing this year,” said Winner. “We all get along super well on and off the court and I think this is a huge key to our success. This year we aren’t nervous or afraid to play with each other and we know how to pick each other up when we’re getting down on ourselves.”
There hasn’t been too much to be disappointed about lately for the Oilers or Winner. Just last week the sophomore tallied 45 kills, 20 digs and 10 aces. Those would be
good enough to take her to the conference leaderboard. She is currently first in the GLIAC with 27 aces and third with 163 kills while jumping up to second when it comes to kills per set.
“The key to my recent success has been the team’s success,” said Winner. “Without everyone committing themselves to the team and working hard every day in practice and workouts, the team wouldn’t get better.”
With the team keeping their eye on the conference title and postseason play, Winner may also be earning some postseason honors by the time it is all said and done.
The Oilers take on Wayne State on Tuesday (Sept. 27) before making the trip to Michigan Tech on Friday in the middle of their long Michigan road trip.