Eastern Kentucky University volleyball freshman Molly Michalak is showing off her abilities after only the first four matches of the season at the collegiate level, posting 49 kills, 64 digs, 53 points and a .137 hitting percentage total.
“I can’t lie, that first game I’ve never been more nervous in my life,” Michalak said. “It’s definitely a lot more pressure, it’s just higher performance all around.”
Michalak chose EKU to be the place where she would continue her volleyball career because of the atmosphere on campus, the volleyball coaching staff and what the program had to offer.
“I literally stepped on campus and fell in love with the atmosphere of it,” Michalak said. “The coaching staff was super welcoming and very family oriented.”
Not only were the coaches welcoming to her but her teammates were as well.
“They have been the best role models for us and they treat us like we’re the same age as them… we look up to them,” Michalak said.
After Michalak’s first two performances against UT Martin, she was named Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Week and Newcomer of the Week for the week of Feb. 10.
“Obviously it feels really good but volleyball isn’t an individual sport, so I have my teammates to thank for that,” Michalak said.
Michalak has goals to continue to better her performance and also help push her teammates.
“My goals for myself are to never be satisfied… moving on I need to maintain my performance level,” Michalak said. “I want to win an OVC title and I know my entire team does, so that’s the goal for this year is to come out on top.”
Due to COVID-19 protocols and OVC regulations, the volleyball team is required to wear masks during practices and games. Michalak’s ideal collegiate start was not to play during a pandemic, just like any other college athlete but she has made the best of it.
“Wearing masks isn’t the best thing we can do but we’ve been doing it since the beginning of August so at this point it’s normal for us,” Michalak said. “Playing in games now we have an upperhand considering we practice everyday during the week with them.”
The COVID-19 protocols have affected the teams ability to hang out as a team outside of practice but it hasn’t hindered their chemistry.
“It’s hard to separate our teammates when we aren’t allowed to hang out all the time… it sucks because I want to hang out with my teammates and want to bond,” Michalak said. “When we are on the court together, the chemistry is really good and when we can hangout with each other we do… they are basically my sisters.”
The team is made up of seven freshmen, one sophomore, three juniors and two redshirt juniors. Although they are young, Michalak said they are ready for any challenges they face as a team.
“Yes, we're young and we have a lot of improvement to do and every day we need to step into practice with a good attitude,” Michalak said. “The good part about having a young team is we get to grow together and we can only go up from here.”
The Colonels will be back in action tonight, Feb. 22 in Cookeville, TN. against Tennessee Tech at 7 p.m. The game will be live on ESPN+.