Written and media by Brian Ehresman[divide]
Injury is a word that no one ever wants to hear, especially in regards to sports. Unfortunately, it is a term that has always been common in the sports world. Injuries have some sort of effect on nearly every team during the course of a season. The 2015 Greenville College Women’s Volleyball team is no exception, as senior middle blocker Marissa Erwin and junior middle Becca Winemiller are both sidelined for the entire season with hip injuries.
Erwin had what is called CAM FAI, which is a bone abnormality. She recently had surgery in a procedure that forced doctors to dislocate her hip in order to shave down the bone to fix the labrum. Winemiller is also coming off of surgery after tearing her left hip labrum seven months ago, and will be having another surgery in December to fix a torn right hip labrum.
Being on the sidelines is something new to both players, as they each have enjoyed great success on the court during their volleyball careers. Erwin is a returning starter for the Lady Panthers while Winemiller started on a team that advanced to the Illinois State Tournament in high school. They also had avoided big injuries for the most part up until now. “I haven’t had any serious injuries really. I’ve had little ones here and there,” Erwin stated.
“College-wise, this is the most serious injury I’ve had,” Winemiller said while she also added she hurt her knee in high school and had to miss some games. It is no surprise that when they found they would be out for an entire season, their thoughts shifted to volleyball, a sport that has meant so much to both of them.
“My first thoughts were, obviously about my senior season. It’s my last year, and I wasn’t really excited about accepting the fact that I would have to fulfill a different role and just sit and watch,” Erwin said. Winemiller echoed Erwin’s statement. “At first I thought about my season because I was starting to play some good volleyball.” The game has given more to both players than simply wins on the court.
“Volleyball has been super important. It did a lot of pulling me out of my shell and making me into a much stronger person,” Erwin lamented.”
“Volleyball is pretty much my life. I play and I coach, so being out…I don’t really know what to do,” Winemiller said.
While it is obviously painful to not be able to play, their love and passion for the game and teammates has allowed Erwin and Winemiller to take on a new perspective. “I have a different role, so I’m able to see more things than I would if I was on the court. It’s been really exciting to watch the team as a whole develop, and to watch the freshmen coming in, watching them develop. It’s been a different perspective, but it’s been a great one,” Erwin said.
“I love just being able to be there for the girls and whatever they need, whether it be if they need someone to tell them what to do out there, or if they just need some encouragement. It’s been nice,” Winemiller explained.
Erwin hasn’t had to watch all of the action from the sidelines, however. On senior night, she was inserted into the lineup to serve and helped push across the match-winning point. “He (Coach Tom Ackerman) told me to dress and I thought it was just for pictures for senior night, but then he put me out on the court. It meant a lot, and it definitely shows how much coach cares for us as people. It was really awesome, and I’ll always be thankful for that,” Erwin said.
While Erwin’s playing days are officially nearing an end as a senior, Winemiller still has another year left to return to the court, and you can bet she will take full advantage of her opportunity if she gets the chance. “I definitely want to play next year. My doctors don’t want me to play, but I want to play personally,” Winemiller said.
The GC Women’s Volleyball team is currently in first place in the SLIAC and closing in on their 6th straight conference title. Their record may not be aided on the court by Erwin and Winemiller, but both players have been staples to the success of the program. Their unselfish and positive attitudes are essential for winning teams, and their love for the game of volleyball and their teammates and coaches has been contagious. They have not only embraced their new roles and perspectives…but also excelled at them.