Junior Karin Edsall is blocking more than just opposing teams’ shots this season. After being named the Most Valuable Player at the Bomber Invitational on Sept. 10 and 11, Edsall deflected praise and recognition and said everyone on the team played well enough to deserve the honor.
“It was just weird because before the ceremony we were talking about who might have won it, [and] we couldn’t decide because we had all played really well,” she said. “I try not to let it get to my head, and I don’t think it really has. We all have our good games.”
In the tournament, Edsall recorded 46 points for the team and helped the South Hill squad win the invitational on its home court. Since then Edsall has maintained her high level of play and ranks second on the team in solo, assists and total blocks this season.
The fact that Edsall attributes her success to the team is nothing new, junior right side/middle blocker Elizabeth Previte said. Previte said Edsall is a loyal friend and confident athlete, both of which are aspects that have contributed to Edsall’s chemistry with teammates and make her deserving of the award.
“We were all so ecstatic for her when she won MVP,” Previte said. “She played a phenomenal weekend. Sometimes you can be on on blocking and off on attacking or vice versa, but [Edsall] was on on both at the highest level she has ever played at.”
On the court, Edsall makes deliberate moves, thinking through and anticipating every hit of the ball. From her composed facial expressions to her relaxed posture it’s evident that she is confident and understands the responsibility that comes with her position as a middle hitter.
Edsall said her biggest challenge is staying mentally calm, and she achieves this by saying a comfort word that she keeps to herself when she gets shaken up during practice or in a game.
“We always have these little words so that when we mess up you can forget about it when you say your comfort word,” she said. “It sounds silly but when you’re out there in the middle of a game and you make a mistake you can just think about that word and it keeps you on track.”
While Edsall said she enjoys the time she spends on and off the court with her teammates, it was another bond that initially led her into the sport. Edsall, a Cornwall, N.Y., native, said the main reason she started volleyball was because of her older sister, Erika, who graduated from Northeastern University in 2009.
“My sister is my best friend, so when I was younger I wanted to do everything just like her,” she said. “When I was in seventh grade she joined the volleyball team, so I was all for starting too.”
Head Coach Janet Donovan said Edsall not only brings consistency to the block and attack, but she also has a lot of fun and a great attitude every time she steps on the court.
“[Edsall] is one of the most levelheaded and positive players I’ve ever had the fortune to coach,” Donovan said. “She also takes every criticism and opportunity to get better.”
A resident assistant in West Tower, Edsall said she really enjoys helping the incoming freshmen. Edsall is majoring in speech pathology and said she would like to work with students in some aspect after college.
Previte said Edsall’s warm disposition is one of her best qualities.
“[Edsall] is a little quiet when you first meet her, and she is a little quirky,” Previte said. “She gives off a vibe that just makes the team really happy to be around her.”
Edsall said her quirkier interests are languages and the Renaissance Faire, and she even took Arabic her first year at Ithaca. Edsall said the team makes fun of her for saying things like “Huzzah!” but it’s all in good fun.
Despite being an inside force for the Bombers, Edsall said she plays for the great chemistry between the girls on and off the court and how the game makes her feel.
“I love it because there is just a feeling I get when I’m on the court,” she said. “I can’t describe it. It’s just the energy and how amped up I get that make me love volleyball.”