Written by Andrea Ledvina for CUWFalcons.com
"I've been on a lot of teams in my life and nothing has compared to the volleyball team at Concordia Wisconsin."
Those are the last words from senior setter Haley Sedo, who when asked to sum up her career, made the statement about her four-year career as a Falcons.
For seniors, Mackenzie Wockenfus, Amanda Schultz and Sedo saying goodbye to volleyball was never something easy to think about. The past four years the three have won 73 percent of their matches, including an eye-popping 91 percent in conference play. It was never about the titles, it was about the family and bonds they would make that would last forever.
"Aside from winning, I want the team to be known for good friendships," says Schultz. "It is nice to know our team as a family, being good people. When you are on a team in college, you are all going through the same things. I never thought I would have created the bonds I did with everyone on the team."
Wockenfus adds, "You can go through college and build this web of people that you can fall back on. They are always going to be there for you no matter what. My teammates have seen me at my worst and my best. They have always been there for me."
Setting a New Standard
The last four years have been nothing short of spectacular for the program, with three straight appearances in the NACC Tournament Championship and a pair of NACC regular season titles, both of which were undefeated runs. Those results never happened before in the program's history; adding pressure to keep the momentum going for future players. The bar has risen and a new standard has been set going forward. The expectations are now at a championship level.
When the women started at Concordia Wisconsin the buzz was about how this was a basketball school. The crowds at volleyball matches were small, and few teams took them as seriously as they could have, regardless of their win total. When the players now scan the crowd and they see how full the bleachers are, it makes them feel empowered and proud to have made such a change.
These seniors were determined to make a change and are glad that their name gets thrown into the mix along with other sports at Concordia Wisconsin. With this year's determination, they have gained a lot of respect from opponents and students, showing how competitive they were.
What most teams in the conference deem successful is not the case at Concordia Wisconsin for the women's volleyball program.
"The only thing you want to do is better the team and the program," Schultz says. "We want to push the underclassmen to know that they can reach their peak athletic ability. I think we all want them to go beyond what we could and do more than we thought possible."
Becoming a Team
Each school and team has their own methods of finding recruits, whether it be in-person, on the phone, email or mailers and when looking back these seniors bought into the program immediately. They said that it was the feeling of being wanted by Concordia Wisconsin that made the difference.
"I want recruits to want to come here because of us both being a good team and because we are all good people," expressed Wockenfus.
When Schultz toured the one thing she remembers was those on the team showing her around and making sure every question was answered. She also remembers receiving emails just to check in and wish her luck in her high school career. One thing that set Concordia Wisconsin apart was that it wasn't just the coach who wanted them here to play, but also the team.
Inside the game
A year ago the team was able to finish matches in under an hour. This season was a little more difficult, but the team adapted well, earning seven matches by sweep. While it is nice to win a match as quickly as possible, the overall outcome in a victory, which the team did 19 times this year. Fans at times might have wondered why when things weren't going right and the other team had scored numerous points in a row, a timeout wasn't being taken.
Sedo said, "We always try to get to our goal as soon as we can in a game. If we are struggling Coach Katz lets us figure it out for ourselves first as a team, which I really appreciated."
Wockenfus and Sedo have both been setters for the Falcons and have developed a good balance of teamwork. Wockenfus is bubblier on the court and Sedo is super driven, creating a great duo to pick one another up in matches. The team created chemistry all around, so that no matter who is in to play, the fluidity of the offense and defense never slowed on the court. In matches especially, the team understood that every play wasn't going to be perfect. They knew to work on the mental aspect of the game because they had to take each point as its own and not dwell on what they couldn't control.
"Life never goes your way all the time," Sedo said with a serious tone. "We all hit those bumpy patches and I've had to learn how to turn it around. We have friends and teammates to help pull us out of it. Volleyball is kind of like that, where every point may not go our way, but we have another just ahead that can be."
Creating a Legacy
"We are all very grateful for everything this program has given us," Wockenfus says.
Shultz adds, "I don't think I have stepped back to look at the big picture of all we have accomplished."
As the season ended a few weeks ago, the seniors have not had much time to think of how they've been able to change the program. The new standard the three have set is high and they want the next group of seniors to be better and always keep working hard.
Sedo expressed, "It would be awesome to watch the future of this program grow so that no team in the conference can touch us."
They always say a student-athletes four years goes by faster than they expect and before they know it their career is over. The careers for Schultz, Sedo and Wockenfus may have come to a close, but their lasting imprint at Concordia Wisconsin won't be forgotten for some time.
Success can be defined in many different ways and it's safe to say this senior class was successful no matter how you look at it.