Coach Snyder Wraps Up “The Season”

Washington and Lee Head Volleyball Coach Bryan Snyder reflects on the year that was and offers his take on what it was like to provide an inside look at his program throughout the 2013 season.


We hope that you enjoyed this inside look at the 2013 Washington and Lee Volleyball Season.  Special thanks go out to the members of the team and the coaching staff for all their hard work and dedication that was required to make “The Season” concept a success.  Also a shout out to Washington and Lee sports information personnel Chip Whipple and Maggie Roy who provided a lot of the behind the scenes work which allowed for a different perspective for our parents, alumni and fans.  Please continue to follow the season-long journey as we profile the men’s basketball team this winter at http://theseasonwlumbb.wordpress.com/.

In the meantime, let us know what you thought about “The Season” in our comments section.  Also, please let us know which posts you liked the most which will be helpful as we move forward.

Season-Ending Thoughts

MADDY CUTLER ’17
This past weekend was a whirlwind of new experiences from the NCAA tournament to the end of my first college season.  On Thursday, we left around 7:30 in the morning for an eight-hour drive to Atlanta.  When we arrived, we had a quick one hour practice in the Emory gym in order to get a feel for the gym and get some reps in before our match on Friday.  Friday morning we also got in the gym for a 25-minute practice in order to do some serve and pass.  In between our morning practice and the game we had smoothie king (yumm), went back to the hotel to do some homework, and had a pregame meal at Lettuce Souprise You.   We were all pumped and ready to get on the court.  Our match against Berry was intense, competitive and extremely close.   We were constantly going back and forth and fighting with everything we had.  Our loss against Berry was heartbreaking and meant not only the end of our season, but the last time we would ever play with our seniors.  I’m so proud of my team for battling until the end and this loss just creates more motivation to work hard in the off season, so we don’t experience this again.  The transition to the off season is going to be hard for me because I’m used to walking into the gym every day and seeing my best friends.  I can’t wait to get back in the gym and start preparing for next season.

ELIZABETH HOLLANDER ’17
It was great to experience NCAA’s as a freshman. The atmosphere is so fun and we all had a good time; from the bus ride down, to the nice hotel, to our team meals, to our two away-gym practices, our team managed to get even closer, which I didn’t even know was possible. It was neat practicing in the gym when no other teams were allowed in, while simultaneously being supplied with a surplus of PowerAde. While these sound like little things, they are actually pretty unique to this tournament and create an energy that is really fun to compete in.

While we unfortunately came away with an early loss to Berry, we still managed to put up a strong match against them, losing the second and third sets by a mere two points each time. It’s always hard to end a season, especially with a team as close as ours, but we’ve all learned from this trip and are ready to take on NCAA’s with even more confidence in the future. Regardless of the weekend’s outcome… Go Generals!

MANSIE HOUGH ’16
As a part of the W&L Volleyball Program, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the past two seasons is to always be able to find positive takeaways from anything, whether it ended the way we wanted it to or not. My second trip to the NCAA tournament has just reenforced that concept to me as I have been able to find a lot of things to be excited about even coming off a heartbreaking loss. The team came into the game with such a confident and competitive mindset, and progress in the way we approached the first round of NCAAs from 2012 to 2013 was absolutely made. Our team has come so far in mental toughness in the past year, and that was exemplified in the way we played not only in our match against Berry, but also in the practices we had to prepare for the match beforehand. It was an extremely tough loss, as each set was so tight and the final score was 27-25. Every member of the team put her heart and soul into the match, and I think you could see in our devastated reaction to losing the match just how much we love our program and how much our goals and achievements mean to each teammate. Even though it hurts to lose and for the season to be over, I know that this outcome is only going to propel our team into yet another extremely productive offseason. The strides we made in the my first offseason were huge, and there are still improvements to be made, so I can’t wait to see what we do next. Losing in a postseason match to end a season is never, ever easy, but our team’s culture of support and love takes a little bit of the pain away. The W&L Volleyball Program is a very special one, and I can’t wait for all the accomplishments our future has in store for us.

KELLY McMANUS ’15
Going to the NCAA tournament this year was a memorable experience. This is the second year in a row that the team has received an automatic bid by winning our conference, and I am extremely proud of our team for that accomplishment. After a snugly 8+ hour trip down to Atlanta, we practiced in Emory’s facilities. I was impressed by how comfortable the team felt and played in the new environment. Our two short practices before the match were competitive, but not frantic, which definitely showed our team’s maturity in adjusting to the new environment.

While the results of the weekend were definitely not favorable, our team’s play in the NCAA Tournament illustrated the growth we have undergone this year. Our program strongly emphasizes the belief in team culture and everyone definitely contributed to the match. Playing with a group of ladies who are as compelled as this team has been is an experience I’ll always cherish and look forward to improving upon next year. This loss definitely hurt, and knowing that was the last time I’ll play with the seniors honestly feels like losing family members. Even so, playing well in the first round of NCAA’s in an accomplishment our team can definitely be proud of — and work to surpass –moving forward.

NCAA Tournament Time

By: Meghan Meleski ’14 & M.A. Boles ’14

The 2013 ODAC Championship Trophy!

The 2013 ODAC Championship Trophy!

It is my favorite time of year! NCAAs! There is such an excitement about the upcoming weekend; it really makes it so much fun. Winning ODACs was awesome, especially as a senior on our home court. It was a great feeling and a great way to end a career in the Warner Center. But my overall career isn’t over! We are travelling today and heading down to Emory. I actually really love this trip, whether it’s for NCAAs or when we would play tournaments down there. Atlanta is such a fun place and we always have a great time on the 8/9 hour bus ride.

We’ve had a good couple of practices to prepare and I really think the atmosphere and attitude amongst the team is strong. We are incredibly happy with our ODAC win, especially because it was one of our goals. But we know that we are not done. We have more goals to accomplish! Our road in the NCAAs looks really good too! I’m excited to be able to continue my career playing competitive volleyball with the top teams in the country, Washington and Lee being one of those top teams! Let’s go Gennies!!!
- Meghan -

Getting ready for NCAA’s this week has been really exciting! We had three awesome practices, playing a lot of 6 on 6, and I think we are definitely ready to head into a great weekend. We left bright and early this morning, but the drive to Atlanta always goes by faster than expected with a lot of movie and work time.

I can’t wait to play on Friday especially coming off of Saturday’s strong wins. Also, the NCAA tournament tends to have a special feeling in the air. No one is allowed in the gym during our practice time and we aren’t even allowed to use our Gatorade water bottles because the event is sponsored by Powerade! Hopefully, we’ll come back on Monday with three wins under our belts!
- M.A. -

ODAC Championship Thoughts

While most of the team became back to back champions, the freshmen class got to hold the trophy for the first time. A special congratulations to Kenzie for being named to the ODAC All-Tournament Team!

While most of the team became back to back champions, the freshmen class got to hold the trophy for the first time. A special congratulations to Kenzie for being named to the ODAC All-Tournament Team!

ELLIE DARBYSHIRE ’17
My first year as a Generals volleyball player and I’m already an ODAC champion! I still can’t stop smiling! If I’m being honest, there was no doubt in my mind that we would win. I have never been on a team that is so hard working and determined to accomplish our goals. However, my most cherished memories of that day will not be the game-winning point or the numerous photos, but the moment when all 16 of us walked out on the court to accept the trophy. Every single member of our program contributed to our win last night. We did it together, and that’s what matters the most. But even though we won the ODAC, we’re still not done. This week we’ll still be in the gym and on the court practicing even harder. We have six more games before we accomplish our next goal. NCAAs here we come!

MADDIE KOSAR ’16
Within the first two weeks of this season, we had a team goal setting session.   Some of our individual goals included grades, weight lifting maxes, and statistical objectives.  When we began setting team goals, we immediately rattled off the first two: win another ODAC championship, and win a national championship.  Now we have one down, and one to go.  Winning the ODAC tournament is only one step in our journey to our final destination.  After months of dedication and hard work, we have been able to achieve one of highest goals, but just winning our conference championship is not quite enough.  We have worked for this moment in our season for months, and as we see the results of our hard work paying off, it only motivates us to work harder and come together to reach our target.

The ODAC tournament is a very fun and competitive part of our season; we start off the week by celebrating a job well done in our regular season by roasting hot dogs at Coach Snyder’s house, and then we get a second chance to play our conference rivals.  Conference games are always exciting because both teams know so much about each other from previous matches.  Hosting the ODAC tournament was a great first experience for all of the sophomores and freshmen due to the support of our fellow Generals.  We loved the big crowds that came for our matches on Saturday; they really helped to get us even more excited and bring a lot of energy.  Looking forward, we cannot wait to go to Emory and give it our all.  We have high hopes for the weekend!

SAM MOENCH ’17
This past weekend I experienced my first ODAC tournament. Winning our conference was by far one of my favorite moments of the season. Having won a championship before I can honestly say there is no better feeling than hearing the referee blow the gaming ending whistle and knowing you did it, you are the best team in the conference. Then storming the court to congratulate the other team on a well fought match and celebrate with your teammates. There’s nothing that compares!! I am so proud to not only call myself a Generals volleyball player, but also an ODAC champion.

Q&A Session with Christina & Alex

CHRISTINA KAMIS

1. What has been your favorite volleyball moment this season and why?
My most favorite volleyball moment this season was definitely our win against CNU. Yes, it was a big win from a stats standpoint, but the reason it was my favorite has nothing to do with the fact that we won. That game was the highest point of our season from a culture standpoint. Every single person contributed, and felt valued. When we won, it was a whole team effort, and every single member felt as much joy as the person next to them. It was a great day for General’s vball!

2. What has been your favorite non-volleyball related moment since the start of the fall and why?
My favorite non-volleyball related moment since the start of the fall was definitely move-in week. I live in the sorority house this year, and when everyone finally got to campus it was like Christmas. We all had so much snuggling/catching up to do, it was hard to find a quiet moment! It reminded me just how great my friends here are, and made me so excited for the year to come!

3. What surprised you the most this year and why?
I think what surprised me most about this year was how much easier it has been to manage school and volleyball. It is shocking how much more of a handle you have on things after freshman year! Things don’t seem nearly as overwhelming, and it is so much simpler arranging my priorities. So don’t worry Freshies! It gets better~*~*~*~

4. What was the best blog post of “The Season” thus far and why?
The Day in the Life of Kelly McManus deserves an Oscar**** (watch the first minute and it’s pretty self-explanatory)

5. What has been the biggest challenge this year and why?
The biggest challenge this year from a team perspective was reaching a point where everyone understood the heart of our culture. It took perhaps more effort this year than last to get everyone on the same page of what our program is about, and just how much it can give back to you if your give yourself whole-heartedly to it. It is such a joy seeing how far we’ve come, and the path we move towards now. We are moving forward with such positivity, and it puts us in a great spot for these upcoming matches.

6. What have you learned about yourself this year?
A lot of what I’ve learned about myself this year has to do with my injury. Due to Axillary nerve damage in my right shoulder, I have been unable to hit all season. I still am very much a part of the team, and do as much as a can in practice, but have not played a single point this season. What this all has shown me is how attached I am to this team and program. After finding out about my injury, I had to ask myself whether playing volleyball on this team was worth it with such a handicap. I am so happy that I chose to stick with this, because it has been immensely rewarding. I have learned that there are so many ways to contribute to a program other than scoring points in games, and how much my contributions matter. I know that some people can’t understand why I would still be so committed when I can’t play, but I couldn’t imagine ever not being a part of this program after this season.

7. What are your thoughts/feelings heading into the ODAC Semifinals on Saturday?
Heading into the ODAC semifinals on Saturday, I am extremely excited. Our team has the capability this year of getting extremely far in the post season as long as we take each match seriously. The semifinal will be just as important as the final, which will be just as important as every match that follows. The talent and culture of this team is what we are really going to have to stress to succeed, but I know that we are more than capable of doing so!

ALEX KINZER

1. What has been your favorite volleyball moment this season and why?
My favorite volleyball moment was beating Christopher Newport in four two weeks ago! We played with a high level of mental toughness, confidence, and aggression the entire match and handled everything they threw at us.

2. What has been your favorite non-volleyball related moment since the start of the fall and why?
My favorite non volleyball moment was our Volleybaccapella session on the bus on the way to Tennessee! We have an amazing set list: Happy Birthday, Silent Night, and Do You Believe in Magic. We spent most of the bus ride perfecting our newest song: I’ll Be by Edwin McCain. ***Please contact Kelly McManus for information regarding our upcoming performances!

3. What surprised you the most this year and why?
What surprised me the most was exactly how amazing our freshmen are! They came into preseason working incredibly hard and are a huge part of our incredible culture.

4. What was the best blog post of “The Season” thus far and why?
The best post of The Season was the Day in the Life of Kelly McManus post… Now the whole world knows the quirky, intriguing, and awesome person that is Kelly McManus.

5. What has been the biggest challenge this year and why?
To be honest, the biggest challenge has been handling the fact that every team we play is out to get us. We proved last year that we are the team to beat in the ODAC and beyond, and that means that every team we play gives us their best game, every game. It has required that we be mentally tough and prepared to respect every team that we play. Although this has been a challenge, I believe that this type of challenge is just what we need to win a national championship.

6. What have you learned about yourself this year?
I have learned a lot about what it means to be a Generals volleyball player off the court, by building relationships with my teammates that will last far beyond the whistle blows to end my final match here in a few years.

7. What are your thoughts/feelings heading into the ODAC Semifinals on Saturday?
I’m very confident going into ODACs. I know that we are the best team, but that every team that we play will want to beat us. We are going to have to take control of the match and execute our system, but I believe that we can win this.

Team Bonfire

By: Kasey Cannon ’16

Cooking hotdogs over the fire

Cooking hotdogs over the fire

Every year before the ODAC tournament, the team gets together at Coach Snyder’s house for a bonfire. This year, all sixteen of us bundled up in warm coats, hats, gloves, and blankets and cooked hotdogs over an open fire. Being a true city girl, this was my first time cooking hotdogs over an open fire! Needless to say, my second hotdog was much more successful than my first. Coach’s wife, Holly, cooks for every team get-together at Coach’s house. Holly is the one of the team’s favorite chefs. This year, Holly cooked us macaroni and cheese, beans, and casserole. Holly even made gluten-free meals for the three with the unfortunate stomachs (Elizabeth, Maddie Kosar, and myself)! Holly’s birthday was also the same night as the bonfire. For her birthday present, the entire team beautifully sang Christmas songs to Holly (but not really, because nobody can sing except for Alex). After eating several rounds of hot dogs and singing our hearts out, it was time for dessert. Dessert is by far my favorite part of every meal, and there is no better way to end the night than with some s’mores! The team never leaves Coach’s house with an empty stomach!!

Enjoying said hotdogs

Enjoying said hotdogs

Besides the delicious food, the team always looks forward to the entertainment from Coach’s children, Geneva and Devon. Tonight at the bonfire, Devon was acting as a gangster-werewolf. I never knew what a gangster-werewolf was until the bonfire—you learn something new every day! Devon and Geneva are known for their singing and dancing performances.  They are quite the dynamic duo.

All bundled up on a cold night

All bundled up on a cold night

The annual bonfire at Coach’s house is something I look forward to each season. The bonfire is another way for the team to hang out and bond. There is never a dull moment when the sixteen of us are together and I learn more funny and embarrassing stories about my teammates every time we are together! The bonfire is a great way to start off the ODAC tournament! The bonfire satisfies everyone’s stomachs and puts everyone is good spirits. The bonfire is a wonderful tradition for the W&L volleyball program!

Halloween at W&L

By: Ellie Darbyshire ’17

HAPPY FALL!!! The leaves have started to change color and sweaters and boots are now common attire in the chilly weather. Pumpkins can be seen all around campus—by the entrances to dorms, on windowsills, and even in trees. I have a small jack-o-lantern in my room (minus the candle because they aren’t allowed in the dorms) that I carved on a rush date with Kelly McManus. I also splurged on a bag of candy corn and have been munching on them all week. It definitely feels like fall.

The groutfits

The groutfits

Since Halloween is on a Thursday this year, W&L students celebrated a day early, since Wednesday is usually a night out for students. It’s typical for first-year halls or sororities to dress up together and all the costumes were really creative! Black Swans, 80s basketball players, and even a few ghosts could be seen walking down Washington Street. My hall decided to wear groutfits (all grey outfits). Everyone wore grey t-shirts and yoga pants. It was probably one of the comfiest Halloween costumes I’ve ever seen.  Everyone in Maddy and Kenzie’s hall decided to do individual costumes including SpongeBob, a minion, and an Eskimo. One of their good friends went as all the Avengers, and had a different piece of each hero on her costume.

pic2Only a few of my teammates were able to celebrate this year because most of us were swamped with tests and papers. I spent my evening reading an Andrew Jackson biography for my history class and doing Calculus homework. Though I did take a short study break to walk down to Sweet Things for ice cream with one of my friends from my hall. Christina Kamis is featured below in a lovely Pink Lady costume with Captain Crunch and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. The rest of us all had to stay in last night and work. The sophomore class also registered for winter term classes this morning, so they had to be up extra early at seven a.m. The team travels to Emory and Henry on Friday for an ODAC match on Saturday, so everyone is trying to work ahead.

Christina Kamis

Christina Kamis – the Pink Lady

My first Halloween away from home wasn’t very eventful. No one played any tricks on me (thank goodness!), but I did get a few treats. Coach’s wife, Holly, and their daughter, Geneva, came to visit during practice dressed in their costumes. Geneva was a Princess and Holly was Darth Vader. It reminded me of all the crazy things I dressed up as when I was her age. Though I’ll admit Geneva made a much better Princess than I did. The dining services prepared a Halloween themed dinner tonight that was fantastic. The kitchen staff decorated D-hall with spider webs and skeletons and all the food had “spooky” names. All the freshmen loved the Ghoulie Chicken Pot Pie and the Graveyard Cake. We are all excited about our on Saturday. We can’t wait to come out with another win and hopefully get back earlier enough to hang out with our friends!

Class Dinners

By: Allison Rouse ’14

Senior Outside Hitter Allison Rouse.

Senior Outside Hitter Allison Rouse.

Another great tradition that we have as a volleyball program is class dinners. Every year Coach invites us into his home as a class for dinner. It’s a great experience that I have really enjoyed the past four year. It’s a time we get to bond as a class, with Coach and with his family. Some of my favorite memories have happened at class dinners.

Our freshman year we were so ready for a change from eating d-hall every night and could not wait for a home cooked meal. Something we learned early on is that Holly (Coach’s wife) is an excellent cook, especially her desserts! Since it was our first time going to Coach’s on our own we, of course, got lost, but after exploring Buena Vista for a little bit we made it!  Our freshman year we were all a little nervous about the dinner. Mash wanted to ask for help from Holly because we had been learning to seal dive and she had developed a bruise that turned into a calcium deposit (Holly is the former Head Athletic Trainer at W&L). However, as freshman we were too embarrassed to ask, but now we ask for Holly’s advice all the time!  We usually go to the dinners together and as a class we love to blast music in the car and dance. Sophomore year we were listening to music on our way over to Coach’s and Emily was dancing so hard she got whiplash. It was hard to explain to Coach what had happened when we got there, but thankfully it wasn’t a very severe case of whiplash.

One of the other great things that happens during our class dinners is we get to hang out with Coach’s kids, Geneva and Devon. Our junior year we had our dinner close to Halloween and they had us try and guess what they were going to be. Geneva’s was easy to guess; we knew she was going to be some sort of princess. Since she has long blond hair, Rapunzel was an obvious choice. Devon was much harder to guess and even though he gave us hints we still could not get it. He finally told us he was going to be a gangster. Then we got to see them try on their costumes, which was extremely cute. After that we had to ask them what they were going to be this year during our dinner. Geneva didn’t know yet, but Devon told us he is going to be a wolverine gangster that was shot with a poison arrow. Where he comes up with this stuff none of us will ever know! This year Meg and Mash also got to talk to Devon about Spanish culture because he has an exchange student in his class this year from Spain. Both Meg and Mash studied abroad in Seville and were able to help him understand some of his classmate’s different tendencies. As I mentioned before Holly is a great cook and she is also extremely nice and accommodating. I am kind of a picky eater and she had bought the food for our dinner after Coach asked us what foods to stay away from. Holly had bought shrimp to make a seafood soup and I don’t eat seafood she made me handmade chicken tenders which were fantastic!

We also always hear about other class dinners and some pretty interesting things have happened at others as well. Last year, Kelly and Katie almost got hit by a rouge cow that had escaped from a farm on their drive to Coach’s. Also last year, during the freshman class dinner, we found out that Kasey participated in horseless horse shows when she was a kid, which yes, is in fact a real thing. This tradition makes us all feel like a part of Coach’s family and is something I will truly miss next year.