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Monday, April 15
The Indiana Daily Student

sports volleyball

Handshakes, high-5s prepare IU on game days

Freshman setter Whitney Granado has already started her routine prior to arriving at the gym for a match.

“Before we even get here, I pick out my ribbon and my headband that I’m going to wear for the game,” Granado said.

Once in the locker room, Granado’s routine becomes much like those of her teammates.

“A couple of girls have handshakes,” she said. “I just put the iPod in and relax a bit.”

Granado and several other players on the IU volleyball team participate in several ritual activities before their matches, both collectively and individually.

“In the locker room beforehand, we all kind of have our own thing,” sophomore setter Mary Chaudoin said. “We determine individually what we need to do to be mentally and physically prepared.”

A lot of the players seem to think a little music and review of the game plan gets that job done.

“We’ll just sit there listening to our iPods, studying our scouting reports – just preparing ourselves mentally,” freshman middle blocker Samantha Thrower said.

Things are no different for freshman hitter Shawn Hindman, who said she puts in her ear buds, reviews scouting reports and gets “in that focused zone.

In addition to individual routines, the players also come together as a unit for a few rituals.

“Before the game, we have a prayer,” Chaudoin said. “And then we cheer, you know, all that hoopla that you guys don’t see.”

Some hoopla is visible to the fans, however.

The starters toss IU T-shirts into the crowd during player introductions at home matches.

During the final warm-ups before player introductions, the team concludes its drills with an attack by junior middle blocker Ashley Benson and huddles with a collective cheer.

Benson said she also has a routine of her own, but with a fewer quirks.

“Just sitting in my locker, looking over the scouting report and imagining what’s going to go on during the game,” she said of her pre-match rituals. “I don’t have anything really outlandish.”

Chaudoin, though, likes to have fun among her teammates before matches.

“I have handshakes with almost every girl on the team,” Chaudoin said. “I always have to do one of those.”

The sophomore setter does several of those handshakes right before the start of a match or set.

Her two most common exchanges are a jump and high-five with Benson and a choreographed routine with sophomore libero Caitlin Cox.

Chaudoin added that handshakes with several players remain on the sidelines, so the novelty won’t wear off.

“If we don’t do it the first time, we don’t do it at any other games,” she said with a smile. “If we don’t do a handshake the first game, we can’t (any other time) because it’s cliche.”

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