Looking at the statistics for this year’s volleyball team, it’s not too much of an exaggeration to say that senior co-captain Marissa Weil is a huge part of the Bombers’ offense. In the team’s first 13 matches, Weil recorded 189 kills, which is more than 100 kills higher than the second-highest total on the team. She did so at a rate of 4.11 kills per set.
Despite her impressive stat line, Weil’s greatest contributions to the Bombers have come from her senior leadership. Junior outside hitter Justine Duryea said Weil sets the tone for the team in wins and rallies them when they’re down.
“She definitely helps a lot, especially in a situation where you might not be playing as well as you want to or you’re down or something,” Duryea said. “There have often been times where we’re down a couple points, but you look at her and you just know that she’s right there with you.”
It’s been a rapid rise for a player who only transferred from Corning Community College last year. Weil served as captain during both of her seasons at Corning before she transferred to Ithaca College in the fall of 2011.
One of the biggest adjustments Weil said she has made since arriving at the college are adapting to the greater competitiveness of Division III volleyball and switching positions from middle hitter to outside hitter for her senior year.
“Middle is very difficult because, as a hitter, you’re always running that quick ball,” Weil said. “So you’re more winded for sure, but going to outside, it was nice because I can slow down somewhat, though not totally.”
As an outside hitter, Weil said the more important part of the job is being able to communicate effectively with her teammates while still making effective judgment calls.
“I need to make sure that I’m listening to my back row and they’re telling me where to hit,” Weil said, “But also that I’m going with my instincts if I can’t hear them.”
Head Coach Janet Donovan praised Weil, both for the example she has set as a leader of a younger team and as the focal point of the Bombers’ offense. Donovan said Weil was a key contributor on the team last year, but she’s made her presence known more this season, both verbally and physically.
“She didn’t need to be such a vocal leader because there were so many other vocal leaders on the team last year,” Donovan said. “This year she’s definitely stepped up and led not only vocally but with her ability and her presence. We’ve really needed her this year and she’s really stepped into that role.”
As for Weil’s abilities as a player, Duryea said Weil has become essential to the Bombers’ offense.
“She is probably one of the biggest pieces of our offense,” Duryea said. “She is such a powerful hitter and smart, and she’s the kind of hitter that’s reliable. You know when she gets the ball, she’s going to put it away.”
Weil attributed her high number of kills this season to having more opportunities to set up scoring opportunities in her new position.
“It’s because I get a lot of the sets,” Weil said. “Being an outside hitter, you’re the outlet hitter, so I’m more likely to be set so that in turn you’ll get more kills and you’ll get more chances to get a kill.”
As the Blue and Gold’s only senior, Weil has stepped up to lead the squad through thick and thin. Duryea said Weil has a way of inspiring her teammates in tough game situations.
“She’s always exuding this kind of confidence and strength that’s magnetic and makes everybody else be right there with her,” Duryea said.