Just a bit over the halfway point of the season, the senior-heavy Forester’s volleyball team is sitting in the middle of the Crossroads League standings. Currently at 9-10, (4-5 in league play), the Foresters have played each conference team once, earning wins over Saint Francis, Spring Arbor, Goshen and Bethel, but falling to Indiana Wesleyan, Grace, Taylor, Mount Vernon and Marian, with the last three coming in extended sets.

HU returns 10 players from last year and adds eight new freshmen to the team.

“The freshmen have been fearless,” head coach Kyle Shondell said. “They have really contributed to the team’s success this season. Part of that comes with how well they have meshed with the team.”

Freshman Ariene Butler said the freshman on the team have bonded well.

“It was difficult at first, trying to bring eight new girls with different playing styles onto a team,” Butler said, “but it’s working well now.”

One of the factors contributing to the strong bond their team has is the emphasis on a family atmosphere this season.

Senior Kate Cobb said their team motto this season is “family.”

“We want to treat each other and speak to each other in a way that shows love to our teammates,” she said.

The strong bond of the team will help the Foresters as they continue Crossroads League play and aim for their goal of a conference championship.

Shondell said the Crossroads League has a “two-headed hydra” in the form of Indiana Wesleyan and Marian University.

“They are both very good teams,” he said, “but we are ready for them. We need to go into all of the conference games with a ‘going to win’ mentality.”

The Foresters strive to have the best defense in the conference. Their strong defense, highlighted by their defensive specialist Cobb, who recently surpassed 2,000 career digs, will be an important factor in the quest for a conference championship.