Weinman an energetic leader on volleyball team

Fri, 2012-09-14 08:00 -- univcomm
September 14, 2012

An expression used to describe rock and roll bands at one time was, “If you can’t be good, be loud.”

Then there are the times where someone is good and loud. That may be the best way to describe Anderson University senior volleyball player Stephanie Weinman.

Weinman is a team captain for the Ravens and from calling out shots on the floor, to encouraging teammates to step up their respective game and diving all over the floor to keep a rally alive, the senior fits the team’s leadership needs nicely.

[Photo: AU’s Stephanie Weinman makes a dig during a match earlier this year at O.C. Lewis Gymnasium.]

“She’s extremely vocal. She’ll talk every single play,” sophomore teammate Kelly Roberts said. “As a hitter, I love when she’s right behind me because she’ll call every open shot I get every set that I get. She knows exactly where every single ball is going. She’s a great leader on the court.”

“I just love being able to encourage my teammates,” Weinman said. “My goal is to always be talking. If I’m having an off game, I want to make it up by talking and encouraging the other girls.”

Her attitude and vociferous nature are just two of the attributes that qualify the 5-foot-6 Indianapolis native for a captain’s star. Her play on the court is another item that contributes to the leadership equation.

Two things are not uncommon at an AU volleyball match: Weinman’s family will be cheering on the Ravens quite loudly, and Weinman will at some point be getting in close contact with the floor to get a dig and keep a ball in the air to help keep a rally alive.

“Digs. That is my favorite thing,” Weinman said. “Someone hits the ball as hard as possible and somehow you get it up, and especially if you can get it up to where the setter is ... that is big satisfaction.”

Weinman’s four years at Anderson have seen her line up at more than a few positions.

She started as a hitter on the right side as a freshman. After graduation losses, she moved to outside hitter as a sophomore. Weinman was in a mismatch at the net most nights against taller opposition.

Toward the end of her junior year, Weinman was moved into the defensive specialist role where her ability to pass the ball would be featured. This year her role is that of the libero.

The libero is a defensive specialist position. The position was added to the game in 1999, along with special rules for play in order to foster more digs and rallies and to make the game more exciting. The libero remains in the game at all times and is the only player not limited by rules of rotation.

“Her freshman year, right side hitter, she was the third option. That served her well. She has the athleticism to get that done. We didn’t bring in the kids to keep that strong outside. You’re 5-6 and trying to hit someone six-feet tall?,” AU volleyball coach Tami Miller said. “We talked about it last year when I moved her to the defensive specialist role. The only question was defensive specialist or libero.”

“I’m clearly not the biggest, tallest girl. It was kind of disheartening to play against 6-foot girls who could just bang at a ball where I would have to play smart and try to hit it where they weren’t going to be,” Weinman said. “I was excited when I found out I would be playing the passing role. I didn’t think it would be easier, because you can’t do anything without a pass. It kind of added more pressure because passing was all I had to do.”

Volleyball kills get a bevy of attention from those reading the stat sheets after the game.

“Defensive specialists are definitely the unspoken hero. They do the hard labor and don’t get the credit for it,” Miller said. “When you talk about a team player, and wanting the best for the team, that’s where she stepped in. She has amazing athleticism. She was the one to say ‘You know what? You need to find someone better equipped to (be an outside hitter).’ It’s not about me competing, it’s about the team winning.”

Winning matches aside, Weinman gets her satisfaction from leaving nothing in the locker room. Even if that means covering up a few bruises for her 8 a.m. tap dance class.

“I love getting bruises. I love when people say that because it means they notice I’ve been working hard. It’s like a weird trophy that I can carry around wherever I go,” Weinman said. “I just want to know that I did everything that I could do in every game, in every match. And that I represent myself in a way that when I look back at it, I can be proud of.”

—Quintin Harlan is a reporter for The Herald Bulletin. Story reposted with permission.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.