She may only be a sophomore, but Haley Sutton dominated in her freshman season with a total of six hundred and sixty-two total assists which helped lead the Virginia Wesleyan University volleyball team to an ODAC Championship. When asked about her total dominance on the court, Sutton was modest and humble about how the team really was the dominating force behind her.
She said that she was, “thankful because not many get to play as a freshman.” She even noted that it was one of her determining factors when she was looking at colleges her senior year of high school. Sutton mentioned that she wanted a school where she could stand out as an athlete but fit right in as a teammate and student, which is why she chose VWU. Describing everyone on the team as, “each other’s biggest fans”, Sutton was adamant that if it was not for the team around her she would not have been as amazing of a freshman player.
Sutton even added that if it was not for the help of alum Megan Wood’s coaching for what each player needed, she would not have acclimated as smoothly to the new team and teammates. The coaching she received from Wood was specific to each player due to the main fact that setting for each player is different and can be crucial in a game situation. From an excelling career in high school and club volleyball to her new VWU team, Sutton met the challenge with the same energy and dominance that everyone hopes to continue seeing.
There is another side to Haley and her dominating on the court that is unknown to most people, and those are her superstitions. She is adamant that they all helped her to play better to win. To begin with, it may seem gross but she has yet to wash her knee pads that she used for the past 18 months. Through the entire season with games, skrimages, and practices she still made sure to avoid washing them in fear that it would wash off the luck causing the team to lose.
The rest of the team however hoped she would wash them eventually with one of her teammates, Gianna Krinock, adding “The whole locker room could and hated the smell.” There was still nothing, but love for Haley from the team despite their feelings for the smell.
On top of a rather gross superstition she also has a few others that are less gross, such as wearing the same hair tie and hair style, putting her footwear on right foot then left foot, listening to the same song before huddle (Enter Sandman), and cracking her knuckles at certain points during warm ups and the game. All of Sutton’s superstitions are accompanied by a team that has a number of them also, with having to touch every door frome on the way from the locker room to the court, standing next to the same people in huddles and having a team prayer/chant that they repeat before every game.
Sutton is looking forward, “to strive and break records,” and to continue her ambitious career here at Virginia Wesleyan.
By Rob Solomon