Volleyball transfer adjusts to new team dynamic

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Carly Skrabak is a defensive specialist who transferred from Tennessee Tech. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

In past seasons, matches would have already been underway for the Marquette women’s volleyball team. However, due to the unusual circumstances from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Al McGuire Center is sitting in silence. 

Despite the lack of time together, the volleyball squad has still made it easy for fresh faces on the team to feel welcomed. Sophomore transfer Carly Skrabak felt that Marquette was the place for her for some number of reasons.

“When I arrived on campus in December, I really loved the campus,” Skrabak said. “I wanted to be in the city. I (also) loved the coaching staff and the volleyball program they have built up.”

The Tennessee Tech transfer finished ninth in the Ohio Valley Conference with 4.28 digs per set, totaling 475 digs on the season. In 2019, she was also able to finish five games with over 20 digs, including a game high of 34 against Morehead State. Skrabak’s success stuck out to the Marquette volleyball coaching staff.

“We looked into her and saw that she had a really successful freshman fall at Tennessee Tech,” head coach Ryan Theis said. “We actually know the Tennessee Tech staff relatively well, and reached out to them and got to know her a bit. It seemed like Marquette was a good fit for her.” 

The transition for other new athletes to the team has been unusual as well. Prior to the pandemic, they could bond over the game of volleyball. However, those type of bonding experiences have now been put on pause. 

“We’ve put together some team outdoor activities to try to keep it so they aren’t sitting in their apartments and dorms,” Theis said. “They are doing a good job staying in touch with people. We put them in pods so if they are going to ride in a car, that’s who they should ride with just to stay in the groups and try to be safe.”

When matches are able to resume, which could happen in the spring, Skrabak has some goals for her first season with the Golden Eagles.

“This team has had a lot of success in the past and I think it was good to see that consistency over the years,” Skrabak said. “Someday I hope to be the starting libero, help the team towards some conference championships in the next few years, as well as see how far we can get in some NCAA Tournaments.”

This story is written by Molly Gretzlock. She can reached at molly.gretzlock@marquette.edu or on Twitter @mollygretzlock.