The Voice: Winter 2002

The Voice

Teammates end long and successful careers in volleyball

A.J. Lefever and Darci Wassenaar. If you asked Dordt athletes what their secrets to success are, hard work would most likely be number one on their list. Seniors A.J. Lefever and Darci Wassenaar would probably add that being friends with your teammates also helps. They should know. Lefever and Wassenaar have been playing volleyball together since the 7th grade.

“It's been tons of fun playing with A.J. all these years,” says Wassenaar. Not only does she enjoy their friendship, she also thinks playing with the same person for so long has improved her play. Lefever agrees. “She has really helped me improve my volleyball skills,” she says. “She always pushes me to play my hardest and best.”

Volleyball isn't all fun and games, however. There's a lot of work involved as well. During the season they practice nearly two hours every day of the week, plus games. They do not seem to mind the time commitment, though. According to Wassenaar, “You get out of it what you put into it. If I put more time into practicing, then I will get more out of it.”

And volleyball doesn't affect their studies negatively, they claim. “It helps me be more responsible and more organized,” says Wassenaar. “I've been playing volleyball so long that I'm used to it by now.” Lefever says she does better in her classes during volleyball season. “During volleyball I'm always trying to work ahead.” Keeping in contact with her professors helps, too.

With all the time devoted to practicing, one would think they would be relieved when the season was over. Wassenaar and Lefever disagree. “I'm usually pretty sad when the season is over,” says Lefever. “I'm used to seeing all the girls on the volleyball team almost every day.”

Unfortunately, this season is a more significant end for Lefever and Wassenaar. The Lady Defenders' defeat at nationals on November 30 marked the last college game they would play together.

Just because they are moving on to different things doesn't mean that volleyball won't have a place in their lives. Both Lefever and Wassenaar hope to continue playing after they graduate. And they both say that volleyball has taught them things that they can take into all walks of life. “Volleyball has shown me how to work with others,” says Wassenaar. “I am just thankful for the opportunity to use my God-given ability to bring Him the glory.”    

Lefever is a social work major. After she graduates, she hopes to work with mentally handicapped people. Wassenaar is a P.E. major, as part of the secondary education program. Her plans, she says, are “up in the air,” but she hopes to be able to coach a volleyball team some day.

The loss concluded a season that saw the Lady Defenders go 37-6 with five of their losses coming from teams that finished their season in the Elite Eight at the National Tournament.