Senior women’s volleyball player Meredith Stinnette (Altavista, Va./Altavista) has come up big when the Royals needed her.
In some of the best performances in her four-year career, she had a season high of 12 kills in a wild five-set win at Randolph, where the women recovered from a 2-0 deficit. The next day, Meredith went on and broke her season and career high with 17 kills.
“Winning the Randolph game was definitely exciting, but I think the game against Guilford was even more thrilling,” Meredith said. “The fifth set was one of my favorite sets I have played in my four years, but unfortunately we couldn’t pull a win out. I am so proud of how our team played and the way everyone fought until the last point.”
Meredith’s role has changed a lot over her four years of playing at Eastern Mennonite University and still continues to change, even as her final season comes to an end.
“My role during freshman year was more to learn from the older players and develop as a college athlete,” said the 5-8 outside hitter. “Now, I have learned to lead in different ways and I think that has helped me grow as an athlete.”
“Meredith is a very hard worker and has a great passion for volleyball,” explained Coach Carrie Bert. “She just loves to play! It has been a joy to watch her play this season with a return to the tenacity and efficiency she had as a first year. She is jumping better, swinging higher and with more power, and tooling off the blockers better than ever.”
Meredith has found that as her leadership abilities have grown, her confidence on the court has grown, helping her to compete at her highest level. Accountability has also been a big theme for the volleyball team this season. With this dynamic, EMU’s team has seen a significant amount of growth as a group.
“We hold each other accountable on the court, outside of volleyball, in the weight room, and around campus,” Meredith described. “Accountability is the biggest thing that has helped our team grow, and I think it has created a deeper bond within our team.”
That bond has paid off on the court, where the Royals already have the most wins for any EMU team since 2001. Individually, Meredith’s hitting percentage has also increased significantly this season.
“I want my teammates to see God in me when they see me on and off the court,” she explained, “so I think that has been another big motivation for me to show people the abilities and gifts that God has blessed me with and using those abilities the best I can. This season I wanted to go out and leave everything on the court.”
“I know that missing the ODAC Tournament this season is a great disappointment to her,” Coach Bert added, “but I value her effort to remain positive and steadfast in her commitment to reach individual and team goals through the last minute of the season.”
The Royals entered the final week of the regular season with a record of 12-12, giving them a chance at the program’s first .500 record in 18 years.
Being apart of the women’s volleyball team is an experience Meredith will cherish and never forget. She does not want to look back on her senior season and have any regrets. As Meredith finishes up her education, while also planning for her wedding in June, she hopes to still be part of the EMU community after graduation. Meredith looks to receive a job in the local Rockingham County school district as an elementary school teacher.
“There were definitely low moments in my four years, but the good memories certainly outweigh the bad and I have grown so much as a person and player,” said Meredith. “While I am sad to see my volleyball career come to an end, I am excited to start a new chapter of my life.”
-- by Bri Miller, EMU Sports Information Writing Intern