Trying to pinpoint the first time I fell in love with the game is difficult because I have always been around it. Before I was even born, my mom, Yvonne Boswell, was the JV and junior high volleyball coach at New London High School, so right away, I was “The Coach's Kid”. Once I was born she stopped coaching to spend more time with the family...but staying away from the game did not last long.
I could not tell you exactly when I started playing because while growing up I always had a ball in my hand, but the first time I began playing on a team was in third grade at the Norwalk Rec Center with my mom as my coach. She was my coach at the rec center in the fall and then coached my intramural volleyball team at Western Reserve in the spring from third grade until fifth grade. I enjoyed playing at the rec because it was fun and I was able to play with my friends, but after awhile I knew I wanted a more competitive atmosphere.
During my fifth grade year, I told my mom I wanted to get more serious about volleyball, so she started signing me up for Black Swamp training camps to help me improve my skills. After I got a taste of the competitive atmosphere Black Swamp had to offer, there was no stopping me and my drive to want to get better.
The following year, Lisa Muenz was hired as the new varsity coach at Western Reserve High School. She approached me right away asking if I would be interested in joining a JO (Junior Olympic) volleyball team she would be coaching. Thrilled to be receiving this opportunity, I said yes and began playing with girls from my school as well as other schools. Later that year, we won our first tournament and ended our season already looking forward to middle school volleyball tryouts. Even though I had a lot of experience under my belt, I still got a little freaked out about not being good enough to make the team...but no tragic story here, I made it!
Throughout middle school I continued to play JO on Coach Muenz’s team and with her coaching, she definitely helped prepare me for high school tryouts. As a freshman, walking into a gym full of upperclassmen was little overwhelming but I was excited to show what skills I could bring to the team. When tryouts were over, I was extremely excited to find out that I had made varsity as a freshman.
After playing for Coach Muenz for three years already and having my mom supporting me at all my tournaments, they knew each other pretty well and Coach Muenz later asked my mom if she would be her assistant on varsity. Just when I thought my mom would be done coaching me, there she was back on the sidelines of all my games again. Ever since my freshman year, my mom has been coaching at Western Reserve, whether that be varsity assistant or the JV coach.
After my freshman season came to a close, it was back to JO season. That year I made a national team at NorthShore Volleyball Club and have been on a national team ever since. While Coach Muenz may not be able to coach me in the offseason anymore..or my mom..I am still able to play for great coaches who know a ton about the game.
Going into my senior year, I look forward to sharing one last season with my mom and the rest of my teammates. The six seniors and I are extremely close because almost all of us started playing together back in sixth grade during JO. I am excited to show what we have to bring to the conference this year having just about the whole team back (only graduating one senior last year). We have worked extremely hard this summer to prepare for the season and have made lots of memories that we definitely will not forget. We traveled all the way to Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina a few weeks ago for a camp where we learned lots of new drills and different techniques to help us this season. I am so excited to be able to spend my last season as a Lady Rider with this amazing group of girls and coaching staff.
After high school, I plan to go to college to major in Integrated Media so I can become a sports broadcaster as well as play collegiate volleyball. Though I have not fully decided which school I plan on attending, I know the few that I have narrowed down will be a great fit for me academically and athletically.
I am extremely excited for my senior year and to have the opportunity to have my mom on the sidelines of every game. I am sure you all can imagine how frustrating it can be sometimes having your mom being at every game and practice, but I would not change it for the world. Her constant support and cheering helps push me to become a better player and teammate. Without Coach Muenz and my mom, I do not know if playing collegiate volleyball would even be possible. Their dedication and commitment to this program has made me into the player and person I am today and I can not thank them enough for all they do.