Even as freshman, Handley helps lead Syracuse

first_imgErica Handley has been in this situation before.Handley played on her high school varsity volleyball team in eighth grade. Surrounded by older players, she worked her way into the starting rotation.Now in a similar situation with Syracuse, Handley has again earned the trust of her coaching staff as the team’s youngest player. Head coach Leonid Yelin called  her the “quarterback” of the team, and she is in charge of calling the plays with hand signals, ensuring everything goes as planned.All as a freshman.“I’ve been the ‘youngin’ for a while,” Handley said. “I never really think I’m the youngest person, I just try to stay at the same level as them.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Lakeville, Minn., native continued her success from eighth grade all the way through high school. All of her hard work culminated senior year, as she led Lakeville North High School to an AAA state championship and a No. 4 national ranking.But the much-anticipated transition from high school to college is one of the toughest times for any person. As an athlete, it’s that much harder.“It’s a huge adjustment coming out of high school,” Yelin said. “Can you imagine what is on her shoulders? She’s a kid just like everyone else.”Luckily for Handley, she has had a full semester without volleyball matches to get acclimated. She graduated high school early to come to Syracuse. In that time, she was able to bond with her teammates, develop relationships and transition into college life.“It helped so much. That’s the reason I don’t feel like I’m a freshman,” Handley said. “This summer could have been the only time I have met the girls before the season. It made it easier to get along and connect on the court.”But as the “quarterback” of the squad, Handley is expected to do a lot for the team. Being young and trusted with such a role comes with quite a bit of responsibility.Despite the accountability, Handley said she’s not nervous about the role she is expected to play. In fact, Yelin calls her the “conductor,” as well.Yelin isn’t the only one mentoring Handley — junior setter Bailey Humes is playing a large role in guiding her, too. Yelin said Humes and Handley are learning from each other.Handley also appreciates Humes’ help.“Her defense is amazing,” Handley said. “She makes me have to pick up my defense that much more. We help each other out yet we know we are competing for the same role.”Sophomore teammate Gosia Wlaszczuk feels Handley is handling the pressure well.“She’s still growing up,” Wlaszczuk said. “Her being setter, you have to be really mature. You basically have the game on your hands.” Comments Published on September 3, 2013 at 11:22 pm Contact Eric: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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