A Letter to Someone Who Inspires You by FY Isabella Imbo

Dear Dad,

Thank you. Thank you for raising me to be the person I am today. Thank you for the nights you spent reading to me out loud. Thank you for the endless boat rides. Thank you for pushing me into waves when I tried surfing. Thank you for playing sports with me, whichever one I was most interested in at the time.

Thank you for making me independent. Thank you for putting your children’s needs before your own. Thank you for coming home after working all day and making me dinner, and still finding time to feed the cat. Thank you for giving me the life I have.

Thank you for talking to me when I am sad. Thank you for giving me advice, even when I don’t want to hear it. Thank you for always making me feel better.

Thank you for making me laugh. Thank you for watching movies with me. Thank you for cooking gourmet meals with me, no matter the fuss. Thank you for telling me entertaining and funny stories. Thank you for all of my happy memories.

Thank you for sharing your experiences with me. Thank you for telling me about your childhood memories (no matter how many times you retell them). Thank you for engaging in conversations with me. Thank you for being humble. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with me.

Thank you for always supporting me. Thank you for not letting me give up on my commitments, no matter how much I pleaded. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to go to school, which I know so many kids don’t have the privilege of doing.

Thank you for driving me to countless volleyball games and tournaments. Thank you for supporting my involvement in volleyball. Thank you for always encouraging me.

Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. Thank you for your love.
Love you Dad

Love, Isabella

A Visitor’s Guide to Geneseo

There is no place like Geneseo, it may be small but there is no shortage of things to do. While everyone may say that their college town is the best, Geneseo is truly unique.

To start, I’ll be describing Main street. The road is filled with restaurants, bookstores, and shops. If you’re looking for a place to eat you have many options including Mama Mia’s, Geneseo Family Restaurant (Kiersten recommends eggs and toast, however, I think the GFR omelet is spectacular), University Hots, Lighter Side, Crickets, and Bar-Eat-O.

If you are looking to shop for Geneseo apparel you have Royalties. Main Street also has a hair salon, book store, and many other cute shops.

If you are an incoming Freshman you will probably be housed on the south side of campus, where the Roemer Arboretum is located. If nature isn’t your vibe there is also a beach volleyball court nearby (where the class of 2021 won the southside tournament). You also have the newly renovated Red Jacket dining hall.

In the middle of the campus, you have your academic buildings. Geneseo is doing a lot of renovations to our campus so, soon it will look spiffy. You also have Macvittie college union which just turned 50 this year. In the union, we have our mailroom, Starbucks, and the bookstore. If you’re looking for a place to relax we have a room that has massage chairs and sleeping pods.

To watch a sporting event you can stop by our beloved Schrader gym (my favorite place on campus) where we have held many SUNYAC Championships for both women’s volleyball and basketball. Or if you prefer hockey for some weird reason head over to the Ira S. Wilson ice rink. Or you can go to New College Stadium where the field hockey team won the 2019 SUNYAC Championship this fall.

No matter what you are into, there is a place for everyone in Geneseo. The best part is that no matter where you go there is always someone you know.

A Letter to My Younger Self-Blog by SO MK Saladino

Dear younger MK,

I want to let you know that every decision you are making right now is leading your older self to the moment she is in now and you are exactly where you need to be. Every tough decision has led you to the path you are on right now and I would not change a single thing.  

First, I am going to bring it all the way back to when you were five years old. Those days life was great! You were a dope baller (basketball and softball of course), school was a piece of cake, you were incredibly shy, and boys had cooties. The only advice I have for you is, trust me it’s not the end of the world if you can’t style the hair you want to that day because mom says it looks crazy. Listen to mom, she knows best. 

Fast forward to middle school, you’ve tried basically every sport and your favorites are basketball and softball. Sports still come easy to you. Mom made sure you always listened to your coaches and didn’t sugar coat it when you had a bad game or weren’t trying hard enough. School is still a piece of cake for you and this is when you start to get less shy. You absolutely hate the fact that you are shy and want to be able to have fun in any situation without feeling awkward. You force yourself to talk to people and make tons of friends (girl friends of course because boys still have cooties). At this point all I have to say is I know you are trying very hard to branch out and make friends, but still be yourself. Don’t try and change just so someone else will like you. 

Now you’re in high school. This is where you make the best decision of your life and decide you want to try volleyball. Only now, you are not the only athletic one around. The summer before ninth grade, you go to one volleyball camp to learn how to play, but that was not pretty. You thought it was enough though because sports still come pretty easy to you at this point. You show up to high school tryouts with your two friends and don’t take it as seriously as you should have because you’ve never had to. You put the effort in, but you laugh and mess around a little bit more than you probably should have considering there were 37 freshman trying out and only seven were going to make the team. After tryouts your friends and you take a look at the team list and to your surprise your name is not on that list. You are heartbroken and shocked. This is the first rejection you have ever gotten from any sport. You are upset and mad at yourself because you know you could have tried harder. 

That day you learned a very important lesson that has shaped you into the player you are today. Always give 100% effort in everything you do and don’t ever think that you are guaranteed anything. Everything you do, you have to work for and earn. Sure you were naturally good when you were younger, but now you’re older and this is the real world where everyone around you has talent. You need to prove yourself to coaches. That day created a fire inside of you and I cannot thank you enough for following your heart and not giving up. You knew that this sport was not any ordinary sport. Something about it created butterflies in your stomach and all you could think about all day was wanting to get your hands on a volleyball. You knew that your volleyball career did not end here. Thank you for having the courage to not give up. 

Now you officially start high school, this is a very different experience for you. You start a new school, everyone around you has athletic talent, school isn’t as easy as it once was, you are uncomfortable and become shy again. This is when you decide to quit all other sports and stick with volleyball. You tryout for club (taking those tryouts seriously because now you know) and make the team. This is the best club season of your life. This is where your true love for the sport really grows you make some of your best friends and it’s amazing. 

My advice for my high school self is to not care so much. Everyone is going to have an opinion. Just show people the real you and if they like you great, if they don’t, it wasn’t meant to be. Be more confident in yourself. I know you had a rough start to volleyball but your skills have grown so much. Stop caring so much about what other people are thinking and just go out there and play. 

Now it’s senior year. You are awful at the college process. You blow it off for a while, but I know that’s mainly because you are scared. My advice to you is, stop being so scared, it will all work out. You are stressed about making the wrong decision because you’ve had such great experiences with volleyball this far that you are nervous your luck will run short. This will  not be the case one bit. When you show up to Geneseo preseason you will realize that it was the best decision you could have made. You will fall in love with the school and the team. Your love for volleyball will continue to grow. You will feel comfortable right from the start and that awful shy stage you hate going through will be the shortest one yet. 

As I am getting older, the biggest lessons I am learning are; follow your heart, take risks, be outgoing, be confident in yourself, and always give 100% effort. The only time you will have any regrets in life is if you know you could’ve given more. Thank you young MK for all the decisions you made that have led me to where I am right now.

Love Always,

An older and wiser MK (not much wiser though, still a lot of learning to do).

A Thank You Letter- by JR Alex Frank

Hey guys, me here. Being constantly reminded that my senior season is approaching has caused me to be an emotional wreck. I can still remember the first time I picked up a volleyball in 7th grade. So sitting here, reminiscing on my entire athletic career, I knew I couldn’t thank just one person. Playing the sport I love so much created endless opportunities for me to meet the most important people in my life (besides my family… You got stuck with me), so it’s only fair this letter is dedicated to that: Thank you volleyball for giving me the people that mean everything to me. 

Thank you to my U18 Club Syrv Team:

I misE3FC4816-001F-488F-A550-8D19AEABDD16.jpgs you every day. In my six years of club volleyball, I have never had a team this close knit. Twelve girls and eleven different school districts; simple name recognition bloomed into the closest friendships. I miss making Trillers, spending all our money on food, having photoshoots with the new portrait mode on our iPhones, and alarming Rj with how weird we were. We didn’t have to be the best on the court, we rallied behind each other which led us on to tackle the best teams. None of us ever wanted our final season to end, and we did everything we could to stop it. To this day- 3 years later- we still randomly catch up in our group chat named after our favorite coach.

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To Rj, thank you for putting up with us and still being my close friend. Thank you for standing up for me and respecting my love for the game, and thank you for letting me hang out with your daughter whom I will someday train to go D1. To my girls: club volleyball meant everything to me, so thank you for being the best team and giving me the best goodbye I could ask for .       

Thank you Beach Volleyball: 

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Beach volleyball, you are my one true love and I never knew how much you would change my life. I owe my first day ever to my high school teammate who asked me to sub for her high school 4s team. I had never even heard of Sharkey’s, but after my mom dropped me off, one step in the sand and I never looked back. We had a little high school 4s squad that played every Thursday and Friday. I was meeting girls from all over who became some of my greatest friends. I met my now closest friends by constantly being crushed by them… If you can’t beat em, join em:) Josh had a beach court in his backyard, so when we weren’t at Sharkey’s, we were there. Fun 4s turned competitive, and eventually fell into full on doubles tournaments as we got older. We just never stopped playing together, and our Sharkey’s family formed easily. I have no idea how Melissa and I came to be but I am so thankful. She has never stopped pushing us to achieve greatness. Every random tournament she has thrown us into has turned out to be the coolest experience (everyone go look up Pottstown Rumble right now). Her dedication to making us better is the reason I met all the girls we now play pickup with. So thank you beach volleyball (and Sharkey’s) for giving me my happiest times and the people I love with all my heart. IMG_5412.jpg

Thank you GSUVB: 

I wouldn’t want to finish my last chapter of indoor with anyone else. Thank you so so so mIMG_0115.jpguch, volleyball, for giving me my lifetime best friends and the best four years of my life. We have survived the best years of our life together, we have grown together, and we have gotten weirder together. I will forever cherish all the memories, the jokes, and the memes we have shared together. I didn’t get the sense of home at a colleIMG_0853.jpgge until I met you guys. I committed to this school because I wanted to be part of your family. I couldn’t imagine spending every waking moment with anyone else… No, like seriously every waking moment. Thank you for bus rides, Bachelor Mondays, Thursday Greys, Starbucks, and our old study sessions at the lib (RIP Milne). Thank you for having great music taste, showing me Long Island for the first time, and encouraging me to always be myself. I couldn’t imagine college any other way. Picking up that ball in 7th grade led me to you guys and I couldn’t be more thankful.

 

My Why: A Blog by FY Emily Haber

I have always known that volleyball has been more than just a sport to me. I have never been able to share the reasons behind why I play, and why I chose Geneseo. Besides my love for the game, I play for those in my life that can not. Being blessed with a healthy and able body, means so much to me. In 2013, my aunt was diagnosed with ALS. Watching her muscles and body deteriorate overtime drove me to work hard and cherish my health. I wanted to do the things she couldn’t; it made me realize that tomorrow is never promised. Coming to SUNY Geneseo was the best decision I’ve ever made. It gave me the platform to continue to play the game I love, while getting a great education. Entering college as a freshman was naturally intimidating. You always second guess if you made the right choice. However, my teammates instantly welcomed me with open arms, and adopted me into their family. I love this school and program, and I could not see myself anywhere else.

GSUVB Attacks Breast Cancer in 2nd Dig Pink Campaign

For the second year in a row, Geneseo Volleyball joined forces with the Side-Out Foundation to raise awareness and funds for stage IV breast cancer research and treatment. After a successful inaugural campaign last year, the Knights hoped to double our fundraising goal and bring in at least $2,000…and double we sure did!

In our 2019 campaign, GSUVB raised $3,500 for the Side-Out Foundation through t-shirt sales and sharing our online campaign with friends, fans, and families.

To bring awareness to the Side-Out Foundation and its cause, we hosted a Dig Pink match at our conference match vs Brockport on September 17th. Fans participated in our “Wall of Heroes” and hung ribbons along the entryway to the gym to honor loved ones who have battled breast cancer. Both teams represented the cause with customized “DIG PINK” warm-up tshirts and the crowd was a sea of PINK!

For so many volleyball programs across the country that participate in Side-Out’s Dig Pink campaigns every year, it’s exciting for our competitive spirits to work hard and raise as much money as possible to contribute to this organization…however, sometimes the true meaning behind why we wear pink and hang ribbons and raise money in the month of October can get lost.

This year, our program was fortunate enough to reach outside of our small campus community and connect with so many people in our larger Geneseo and Rochester communities who have been impacted by breast cancer and were thrilled to see us doing our part to battle the disease. Our t-shirt sales doubled this year as community members came in waves to get their hands on one in honor of loved ones lost or still fighting. Our Wall of Heroes started with just a few ribbons on the morning of our Dig Pink match, and by the end of the night, it was raining pink ribbons all across the foyer as our fans were eager to take part in honoring someone close to them. And last but certainly not least, GSUVB had the opportunity to participate in a Breast Cancer 5k in Rochester in October and get a first-hand glimpse at just how many people this disease affects every single day – downtown Rochester was covered in pink ribbons, feathers, glitter, t-shirts, etc. to show its support in the fight against breast cancer.

It’s been an honor for our program to do a small part in aiding the fight against breast with the Side-Out Foundation for the second time — we know that our efforts will help make a difference in the lives of so many who are battling this disease, and we will continue to do our part every single year until we’ve beaten breast cancer for good.

Senior Letter Series: Kat Vernon

Hello everyone!

No offense to coach/the team/our fans, but I have been dreading writing this letter for quite some time now. In fact, when coach texted me and my fellow seniors about this, I completely ignored it and erased it from my brain until Sam rudely brought it up again a few weeks later. I have so many emotions towards the fact that this is my senior year. I have decided to take one for the team and not get too sappy. I’d rather just laugh this one out because I’m saving the real tears for May 16th, 2020. This blog post will be filled with some weird stuff and humor that most likely I only think is funny. Brace! Your! Selves! You’ve! Been! Warned!

But let’s get a really quick, cheesy, heart-felt blurb out of the way first. Being on this team has seriously changed my life. I know that sounds so dramatic, but let me tell you, it is so true. My experience at Geneseo would be drastically different had I not chosen to play volleyball. So it’s definitely safe to say that I am beyond happy I have chosen to stick with this sport for the past 3 years.

Instead of telling you how and why it has changed my life, I’d rather just share some fun memories I have of my times with my teammates.

Let’s start with freshman year. Freshman year was WACK in the best way possible. Within the first week of preseason as a young “boy”, I had been given the nickname “Kat Daddy” by Courtney Cleary, learned how to make Seagull noises thanks to Kaci Snyder, and had the opportunity to sit on the senior’s couch in their apartment as Tricia Baxley made me mac and cheese and fed me popsicles because I was #scared about #college.

Throughout the year, I started really bonding with my other fellow “froshies” Grace Cergol, Abby May, Abbey Scheffler, Shea Casey, and Sam Mendelsohn. Whether we were sitting in MJ dining hall talking about anything and everything for hours after practice or we were gathered up in Sam’s tiny dorm room in Daga 4 North, we always had the best times.

Other noteworthy memories I have of freshman year are: the terrifying haunted hayride with the team (the worst day of Sam and Tricia’s life), going to Moe’s with the team (@courtney), getting rowdy with the team at Women’s Basketball games, filming a music video during study tables at the library – sorry coach (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmPA5RM6l48), playing broomball with Grace (weird times), and many many many more.

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Next, we will move on to Sophomore year. Sophomore year was even more WACK. It was the first year Grace, Sam, Shea, and I lived together (and Abby lived one door down), so you already know we got little to no sleep and had to separate ourselves in order to get homework done. We were much more comfortable with the Geneseo scene by this year, we had made some friends, and we were ready to conquer a new season of volleyball. We welcomed in eight new froshies which was very exciting!

The most notable memories of sophomore year are as follows: team-bonding at STOKOE FARMS, petting a cow and winning a Go-Pro, the Plattsburgh hotel (Shea popped off), establishing a one of kind Cheeto-loving group that will forever be near and dear to our hearts (it ain’t easy bein’ cheesy), writing and recording a one-hit-wonder – the GSUVB Freaky Friday Remix (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHj40YuLDJI), experiencing a flood in the Ontario 3rd floor study room with Sam and Grace, and hiking at Letchworth with some teammates.

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Now, onto Junior year! Big men on campus, moving into our own apartment, loving life, feeling COOL. At this point, everyone in our class and I had faced adversities, gone through some great times and some not so great times, and we had matured so much. My teammates were becoming family to me. Volleyball wise, we were looking and feeling GREAT. So great, in fact, we were able to go undefeated in conference play for the first time in Geneseo Volleyball history. We also made history when we were able to HOST SUNYACS in our own beautiful gym. While we didn’t win the championship, we learned a lot, and it has prepared us to come back even stronger this year.

Despite our sad loss, we had MANY wonderful memories and times as teammates on and off the court such as: our campus-wide scavenger hunt, the ninja turtle sunglasses that made it all the way to the Geneseo Knights Instagram, the notorious ice bucket challenge, practice on Halloween, the team spelling bee (@kiersten still mad at you for giving me the word BOURGEOISIE), Grace, Sam, Abby, and I’s wonderful spring break trip to Florida, learned how to use a Neti-Pot (don’t text), found out that Allison’s dog loves spaghetti (see photo below), learned how to “juju” on “that beat”, and filmed a music video with Randy Jackson in Walmart (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8D15cLsS3aY).

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And here we are at Senior year. So far, this year has been filled with countless laugh attacks, some SICK volleyball, and lots of French accents. This will be one of the best years of my life, but also the saddest. I can’t imagine living life where my teammates don’t live with me or aren’t at least one door down. It’s going to be the hardest adjustment knowing that I won’t be coming back to live with my best friends in the most amazing place for another year, but I’m sure we’ll be okay. I see many trips to Long Island, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo (and everywhere in between) in our near futures!

Anyways, to wrap everything up, I just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout my four years of college. I want to thank my teammates for always being there for me, my coaches for giving us endless support, and my parents and family for always being my biggest fans.

Can’t wait to hang up that freaking banner soon, my dudes.

To end this with the biggest cliché of all times in the cheesiest way possible: this isn’t a goodbye, Geneseo…it’s just a see you later 🤯🤞🏼

Godspeed,

Kat Vernon

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