Senior Tri-Captains Reflect on Four Years of RIC Volleyball

By Leslie Crofton, Sports Information Intern

 

            As the Rhode Island College women’s volleyball team’s 2001 season was coming to a close, the squad’s tri-captains, a trio of seniors who had played together for all four years of their collegiate volleyball careers, were asked to reflect on their experiences playing together at RIC and how they felt as this chapter of their lives neared its end.

 

            Kim Lebrun, a setter from Woonsocket, RI, Brandee Trainer, a middle hitter from North Kingstown, RI, and Erica Waltonen, a middle hitter from West Greenwich, RI all agree that they are going to miss being athletes at RIC, something that they believe shaped their respective college experiences.

What comes across most poignantly is how deeply these three feel about one another and about the rest of their teammates. As the end of their time on the court was drawing dangerously close, career statistics, win-loss records and getting their names forever imprinted in the annals of RIC volleyball (all three women are among the best players in RIC volleyball history) seemed to be the furthest things from their minds.  What was at the forefront were the lasting relationships that they had formed along the way.

“I don’t think I could ever think of three other people that I would have rather played with,” said Lebrun of her co-captains and Kristina Ferreira, a defender from Bristol, RI, the other senior on the squad. Trainer agreed, praising her fellow captains and saying of Ferreira, “it feels like Kristina’s been with us all four years even though she only played three seasons. She’s helped us out a lot as our most consistent defensive player.” “The four of us have really kept each other going,” said Trainer. “We were able to find our own motivation,” added Waltonen.

While all of these women plan to keep playing the sport of volleyball after college in leagues and beach tournaments, they acknowledge that the sense of being a member of such a close-knit team will be difficult if not impossible to find in life after RIC athletics. “What I’m going to miss the most is seeing each other [Waltonen’s fellow seniors] everyday and seeing the rest of our teammates everyday.” “We’ll always remember these days,” said Trainer with a bit of nostalgia, “we’ll never face this type of competition again and we’ll never face it together again.”

“I feel very proud of everyone on my team,” said Lebrun. “My dad said to me the other day that someday I’ll look back and realize that we [Lebrun, Trainer, Waltonen] have accomplished what only a very small percent of the population ever does: playing varsity collegiate athletics for four straight years. He was right in saying that that’ll make everything we’ve endured worth it…from the late nights and lack of sleep to the cramped van rides,” Lebrun mused with a smile.

 

This interview was conducted the evening before the Rhode Island College Anchorwomen Volleyball Team began their post-season competition in the 2001 Little East Conference Tournament, kicked off with a match against LEC rival UMASS-Dartmouth on the road on Oct. 31, 2001.

 

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