By Esra Al-Abduljabar (Contributor) – Email

With a new coach and a new roster, the Cascades women’s volleyball team is gearing up for a new season. Veteran athlete Mandelyn Erikson, a middle on the team and a third year English and psychology student, opens up about her history with the sport, and what fans can expect to see in the upcoming season.

How did you get into volleyball?

In high school, many of the school coaches said, “Oh hey, you’re tall, you should try this sport and that sport,” and volleyball was one of them.

How long have you been playing volleyball?

I started playing volleyball competitively in grade 10, and before that, I played kind of a little bit here and there. That’s when I started playing club and got interested in the sport.

What do you like about the sport?

I like that it’s a team sport, and getting to work together towards a common goal, which is fun. I mean, I’m very competitive, so that also helps.

How has the training and preseason been going so far?

It went pretty well. We had our home opener this past weekend. We came out with two wins, and it was nice to see some of our training pay off.

What are you looking forward to most this season?

We have a new coach [Mike Gilray] and we also have a lot of new faces that came on to the team this year, so I’m excited to see where it goes, and what happens — and what we can do with it.

What have been your favourite moments / games with the Cascades?

That’s kind of hard to pin down, one game or moment that’s been my favourite. I mean, every game is exciting. Definitely this past weekend with the home opener; I started, which was super exciting for me, and it was exciting to see our training pay off.

How do you find time to balance sports and school — maybe even a job?

I live by my planner. I do have a job on top of my schooling and sports. I write so many lists I can’t even count them. I live through organization, and my planner just keeps me on top of things and tells me when I have to do things and when I have the time to do it.

Do you think you’ll pursue volleyball professionally after university?

Probably not. I do love the sport, but that is a huge time commitment, and that would mean putting my career on hold, which I don’t really know if I’m ready for.

Do you have any advice for UFV students wanting to try volleyball out?

It’s a great way to be a part of a team, and you kind of get to go into a community — the sports community. All the teams pretty much interact and talk, and it’s nice to kind of come and get to know people without having to work that hard to make friends.

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