GC volleyball veterans reflect on careers

Chris Collier | Senior Writer | Nov. 20, 2019

Cohen and Crowell have each other listed as their favorite athletes on the GC sports frontpage website
Jessica Gratigny | Asst. Photo Editor

GC volleyball lost to USC Aiken 3-0 in South Carolina on Saturday, Nov. 16. It was a senior day duel that proved to be Nicole Cohen and Emily Crowell’s last collegiate battle together.

Emily Crowell, senior exercise science major and right-side hitter for GC volleyball, had not soaked in the fact that her GC journey is coming to a close. 

“It hasn’t hit me yet,” Crowell said. “It’s still a little weird for me to think about—Saturday could be my last game ever playing collegiate volleyball.”

Nicole Cohen, senior marketing major and outside hitter for GC volleyball, had mixed feelings leading up to senior day.

“I’m really excited about it just because this is a game my whole four years has led up to,” Cohen said. “I’m really just excited to hopefully get the wins to keep the season going.”

Head coach of GC volleyball Gretchen Krumdieck has seen the two seniors develop an unbreakable bond.

“Emily’s from New York and Nicole is from Georgia, so it’s a good little balance between the two of them,” Krumdieck said. “They both enhance our team a lot—[they] just kind of bring a different perspective.”

Cohen said that her and Crowell instantly connected when they first met each other.

 “I’m really grateful to have had her throughout my three years here,” Cohen said. “She’s helped me a lot. We’ve helped each other a lot and held each other accountable—especially this year.”

Crowell is thankful for the friendship they’ve built during their time together at GC.

“We do everything together,” Crowell said. “That’s probably one of the closest friendships I’ve had and getting to go through this experience with her has been really fun.”

GC senior Nicole Cohen won three volleyball state championships in high school
Jessica Gratigny | Asst. Photo Editor

Krumdieck has witnessed the growth of the two seniors throughout her time at GC.

“With Emily, she used to come in, and she just wanted to hit as hard as she can,” Crowell said. “And that worked for a little bit, [but] now she’s learned how to use her shots, and she sees the court so much better than she did when she first got here.”

Krumdieck said Cohen’s game has evolved dramatically throughout her time at GC.

“Nicole came in as a hitter, and we’ve kind of transitioned her into a defensive specialist,” Krumdieck said. “It has really played to her strengths—she’s very quick, [and] she has a very good reaction time. She has just kind of owned that middle back position.”

When Crowell arrived at GC, she looked up to Chandler Ewaldsen because of her strong values and impressive playstyle.

Caroline Long and Blake Willoughby influenced Cohen when she first arrived at GC. She said the two taught her how to be a better person.

But years later, the roles have reversed for both Cohen and Crowell. They have grown into leadership roles that benefit the younger players on the team.

“When it’s like, ‘Hey, we’re not doing what we’re supposed to be doing—I need you guys to focus,’” Krumdieck said. “That is great from a coaching standpoint because they [Cohen and Crowell] take care of that, and I don’t have to be that voice that always kicks in.”

Cohen said volleyball has given her life skills that extend beyond the court.

“Being a captain this year—I’ve learned how to lead my team on and off the court,” Cohen said. “How to be a better leader, how to vocalize things better—that has helped me a lot.”

As senior day and a potential end to her collegiate career approaches, Crowell said she will miss the friendships she’s built more than anything.

“I know I’ll keep those friendships forever, but just always being together and being with them I’ll miss a lot,” Crowell said. 

After graduation, Cohen wants to use her marketing major to get involved with the horse racing industry—one of her biggest passions. Crowell wants to pursue a career as a physical therapist.