PHOTO: Senior Haley Brightwell getting a kill against Maryville. Photo by Eric Harris for The Current ©

By Eric Harris, sports editor for The Current

For every athlete, there comes a time when there is no next year. When this time comes, it should never be a time of sorrow, but a time of reflection and rejoicing the memories made while playing the sport one loves. Each sport has some sort of celebration for those who are graduating out of the team, generally at the final home game. This honoring of the seniors is called Senior Night. As the 2014 fall sports season beings to wrap up, many of our seniors are coming to the end of their journeys.

Sunday, November 2, the Triton Volleyball team had their senior game against Bellarmine. This year we honor three seniors: Haley Brightwell,graduate, business administration, Allie Ewing, senior, liberal studies, and Emily Bragaw, senior, liberal studies. They are all essential to the team and will definitely be missed next year.

Head Coach Ryan Young is happy they were part of the Triton tradition, “Our 3 Seniors, Emily Bragaw, Haley Brightwell, and Allie Ewing have done a lot of great things for our program.  Their leadership on the court each day at practice has made our team a very tight-knit group.  Their communication within our team is very noticeable and we will miss all 3 players next season,” Coach Young said. “Emily’s strengths on defense and serve receive will be missed greatly.  Haley’s attacking and overall play will be missed, and Allie’s powerful attacking and blocking will definitely be missed.”

Ewing and Brightwell are not ready for their volleyball story to end, but they have learned a lot from the roads they traveled. Brightwell said, “One of the biggest things I’m going to take away is what I learned for when I become a coach. I’ve learned a lot about how the team functions and the coach/team relationship works, and I think I’m going to take a lot away from that.The thing about UMSL is that you can be good at Volleyball and you can invest yourself in so much more than that … you’ll be a much more well rounded person. That’s what I did. I’m doing like ten different things, but I’m also doing volleyball, which it is hard for a lot of athletes to do more than their sport, but you can do that at UMSL.”

Ewing felt she has grown a lot in her time at UMSL, “I feel like I’m not as hard on myself as hard as I used to be. Back at my Junior College, I was super hard on myself and it effected my play, and I feel like here I gained more confidence in myself and I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. I know that if I mess up it isn’t the end of the world.”

Seniors always have advice for those who will follow them in the years to come, Ewing said, “For next year’s seniors, take advantage of the opportunity, definitely take it seriously and have fun at the same time. Sometimes it’s hard not to dread practice or get down on yourself by the end of the day, but you have to realize that not everyone gets to do this, and it really is a wonderful opportunity that they should take advantage of and have fun with it!”

Brightwell feels that next year will have no shortage of leaders, “Several different people could step up as a leader on the team. They all have different things that make a good leader, and I think they will be about to bring those together. Lindsay (Meyer) has her stuff together.”

Doing any sport will give you experiences and friendships that will last. Ewing said, “One of the biggest things I’m going to take away is the close friendships. This year we are really together. I think these are a lot of girls I’ll be friends with later on in life. Also, discipline and mental toughness. Just things that you learn from playing on any team and defiantly here at UMSL.”

To all UMSL senior athletes, thank you for building a new Triton tradition and good luck in all future endeavors!


© The Current 2014