Setting Up Success: Volleyball 2016

Paige Prothe

Walking into her first varsity volleyball practice, 5-foot-4 sophomore Mallory Frank found herself surrounded by nine other six foot players. As the shortest player, Frank’s awkwardness was balanced out by the upperclassmen teamwork and excitement for the new season.

“I was so awkward. Seriously so awkward,” Frank said. “But everyone else was so excited and pepped up that I immediately felt so welcomed.” 

When she walked into practice, she saw one familiar face, Victoria Yedo. Yedo, a junior returning varsity letterman, greeted Frank with a welcoming smile and introduced her to the other teammates.

“Yedo has been my neighbor for a long time, so when I walked in she was one of the only people that I actually knew,” Frank said. “It made me feel a lot better knowing that I knew someone that first day.”

Teammates asked Frank how it felt to be on varsity, but she was at a loss of words when trying to explain it. 

“Coming from freshman team to varsity really doesn’t happen a lot,” Frank said. “My mom saw the list first and didn’t really say anything because she thought it was a joke.” 

As the season progressed, Frank’s bond with the rest of the team strengthened. She formed new friendships with players including junior Sydney Ashner and senior Ally Offerdahl, two of her closest friends now, along with the other seven players. Not only has Frank learned new things from the team, but the team learned various things from her. 

“I think what is so special about Mallory is how far she came from last year and this year,” assistant coach Randy Williams said. “But she doesn’t boast about it. She is one of the hardest workers I have ever met.”

Frank’s positive demeanor and eager attitude brought a new balance to the team. A lot had changed from Frank’s first intimidating varsity practice, but strong friendships between team members had finally created a cohesive environment. 

Hugging her teammates while clutching the third place state trophy, Frank felt at ease. She remembered her first practice and the four 5-foot-8 and above seniors looming over her, making her palms sweat with anxiousness. A new feeling of comfort warmed her as the swarm of parents snapped hundreds of photos from the stands. A feeling of comfort that had built Frank a new home with the varsity team at East.