On Sunday, November 18, Rhode Island Colleges Brandee Trainer got her chance to play the sport that she loves with and against the best competition that New England Division III has to offer. The senior middle hitter was selected to play in the New England Womens Volleyball Associations (NEWVA) Senior Classic which was played at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. She was one of 30 New England Division III players selected to participate in this match.
The event, which is quite prestigious, consisted of a skills test for the athletes while their coaches attended meetings followed by a four-game match played between two pre-selected "teams" that the players were divided into.
Since Trainer had not taken a skills test since trying out for her high school volleyball team, she was enthusiastic about the opportunity to do so again, this time as a veteran collegiate player. "It was a test for myself rather than a test to determine where I stood among the other players. I wanted to get my personal best out of it and see what I could do," says Trainer. The skills portion of the Classic tested fundamentals of volleyball including passing accuracy, vertical jump and serving accuracy.
As for the outcome of the match, each team won two of the four games and everyone seemed to be content with that. The point of playing the match was not to foster competitive feelings between the two teams; it was to give all of the players a chance to play high quality volleyball with and against great competition. "It was a much faster paced game then I usually play," remarked Trainer. "The girls were all really impressive."
One of the things that Trainer enjoyed most about the Classic was the opportunity that it provided for the athletes to play at a high level while in a "very friendly and encouraging atmosphere." Many of the players knew one another from matches and tournaments that they had competed in throughout college, and this gave them the chance to meet and work with those who they had only known as their opponents up until that point. "A lot of us knew each other, to the point that we even knew each others playing styles, so it was fun to be in that type of setting together. The NEWVA Senior Classic was a great opportunity. I played with the best of the best, it was an honor to be placed among them," says Trainer.