Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Freshmen bring new spark to Tide


Black shirts, camouflage pants and eye black – the 13 members of the Alabama volleyball team and its five coaches darted onto the paintball field.

Suddenly, the eight upperclassmen who had spent all offseason together helping one another were divided, and the five giddy freshman weren’t able to rely on each other for what was about to happen.

Judy Green, the coach who usually roams the clean indoor volleyball court, now showed that her competitive spirit could also be found in the woods.

“Judy got really into it,” said junior Stephanie Riley. “She was getting us all. She shot people pretty good. She’s small so she was sneaking around the corner, which really helped her.”

After the strenuous two-a-days from this summer brought together two different groups of girls—the veterans and the first-year players—Green said shooting bright-colored paint at one another, sharing laughs and seeing a new side to their coach was exactly what the team needed.

“I kind of got into it; its kind of my background growing up as a kid,” Green said. “I grew up in a neighborhood that had all boys in it so they wanted to play army all the time. So, I played army. I learned to hide behind things and shoot things. I had a BB gun. I think I probably took them by surprise that day.”

The team’s high energy and positive approach to paintball is similar to the team’s new identity this season. With almost half of the team comprised of incoming freshmen, the Crimson Tide’s new, enthusiastic approach to the season has rubbed off on a team that, before their arrival, was still dwelling on the disappointing finish to the 2009 season.

“This year’s team, I’m really impressed with our cohesiveness as a unit,” Riley said. “The freshmen, they have a different personality as a whole than the team has. They’re a lot louder and more energetic than the team was. I think that’s really going to help. In the past we’ve struggled with finding energy and finding passion. They have a hunger for volleyball.”

The fresh additions to the team come from Texas, Georgia and Colorado, yet each of them brings the same optimism. In a sport where keeping your teammates’ mental state positive can be the difference between an ace and an opponent’s success, it’s essential to have this kind of attitude boost at the beginning of the season.

“This summer, [the freshmen] were begging the upperclassmen to play in the gym with them,” said Green, who announced last spring that this will be her last year coaching. “They want to be the next group that makes an impact here at Alabama.

“When I made the call to them that I wouldn’t be returning to Alabama, this is how I knew they were special. They all still kept their commitment to Alabama, because had they not really loved Alabama they would have just been coming here for me, and they all five are here right now.”

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