Seniors Speak At NCAA Banquet About Meaning Of Teamwork
ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Wittenberg University seniors Kimmie Dyer and Hannah Riley were selected to represent their team and university as presenters at the 2011 NCAA Division III Volleyball Banquet, hosted by Washington University and the NCAA at the Ballpark Hilton in St. Louis, Mo., on Thursday, Nov. 17. An excerpt of their presentation follows, as Kimmie and Hannah offered a glimpse into the world of Tiger volleyball and the obstacles the team faced on the road to the national tournament:
Photo by Erin Pence
"Perseverance is a word that, when we look at this group of Wittenberg volleyball players, has become a re-occurring theme. Each player has been faced with her own individual battles to overcome.
"Hillary Hassink is a junior from Tulsa, Okla., who was a defensive specialist/libero during our 2009 season. Her individual battle began in July 2010 when she was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. She began undergoing treatment and was unable to come back to school in the fall. She also was told that she would never play competitive volleyball again. A year later, as we were preparing to go into our 2011 preseason, senior Hillary Monnin was also diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. She was able to return to school in the fall, but because of the effects of her treatment she was not able to play volleyball in her last season.
"Today, Hillary Hassink is fully recovered and is back at Wittenberg studying pre-medicine. She was even able to take a service trip to Africa last summer. Hillary Monnin is currently undergoing chemotherapy. She will hopefully be receiving her final round of treatment tomorrow. Both are in high spirits and are our biggest supporters.
"Seeing two important members of our team facing such adversity undoubtedly impacted our team as a whole. Our team's ability to turn these somber moments into motivation has been a strength that has allowed us to move forward and persevere through a variety of obstacles.
"Our teammates enable us to look at things from a new perspective. Workouts don't seem so tough, school doesn't seem so draining and dwelling upon a bad game seems trivial in comparison to their circumstance. We have learned from them to appreciate the opportunities we have been given this season. We have had great learning moments, ups and downs and fun times together, while keeping our teammates in our thoughts, prayers and hearts.
"In the end, everyone has their battles. The most victorious are the ones who fight them together."
Read about the entire story of Tiger volleyball and the experiences of these courageous student-athletes.
Tiger fans can follow the Tigers' exploits in the NCAA Division III Tournament in a variety of ways. Washington University, the host of the NCAA Division III Tournament quarterfinals, semifinals and finals, will provide live video and statistics of the match (Tournament Website). Wittenberg Director of News Services and Sports Information Ryan Maurer will be providing live audio commentary from the Field House (Listen Live), and fans in Springfield are welcome to join the Wittenberg community in the Benham-Pence Student Center for a live viewing party at 7 p.m. Eastern.
For instant updates, follow Wittenberg Athletics on Twitter at @WittAthletics (Twitter account).