Puerto Rico is known in Spanish as la isla del encanto, or “the enchanted island.” The gorgeous beaches, the tropical weather, the mind-blowing scenery and the beautiful women are one of the many reasons this territory has won that name. Lianmarie DeJesus and Natalia Robles, both natives of Puerto Rico and best friends, are part of the outstanding season that the women’s volleyball team is having. The senior from Las Piedras and the junior from Fajardo gave a few words about themselves and their season on the volleyball team.
I first asked them about their season, asking Lian to describe the main reasons they have had such a great season. She replied: “Leaving behind our differences to get closer at the time of playing, our great chemistry as a team and the big decisions our coach as made are the main reasons of the successful season we are having.” When I asked Natalia about their preparation for the season, she responded, “At the beginning it was hard, I was physically not ready and the team was having some trouble to play as a family. But after some time practicing, everyone started playing at the best level.”
After knowing how the beginning of their season was, I decided to ask Lian about her expectations for the rest of the season. The senior replied, “I can’t be more proud of my team. This is my last year and everyone has been working hard and nationals are the next challenge in the season. As I always say, ‘team work, team work makes a dream work.’ If we follow this we will accomplish big things at the end of the season.”
Then, I asked Natalia how the team is feeling emotionally at this point in the season and to describe to me the relationships between the players. “The team has had its ups and downs. We have had some tough times, but once we decided to get together as a family, we started showing it in our playing style. Even though we have our problems, we still have great relationships and a good environment in the locker room so that we can focus on our goals for the season.”
Natalia Robles is a junior at Graceland majoring in Psychology. When asked about her future, she said, “I’m still not sure about what I’m going to do in the future. But sports are my passion, and I love my major. So anything in relation to psychology and sports would be great. Also, I would love to work with children. I’m not sure if I’m going to stay in the United States after I graduate or go back to Puerto Rico, but staying in the U.S. is probably my best option.”
Lianmarie DeJesus is a biology major and a senior at Graceland University. I asked her to tell me about her future plans. She replied, “My main goal is to graduate. After that, I want to go to grad school to become a dentist. My first option right now is to stay in the U.S., but if not, I’ll get my doctorate degree at home. And then, well, starting a family, after I’m economically stable, of course.”
As we know, Lian is a senior, and she wanted to leave a message to her team: “This is my last season and I want to tell everyone that you will always have a place in my heart – thanks for all of the memories that we shared! After three years on the varsity team, this has become my second family. I’m so proud of my coach, too, and my assistant coach; they have always been there for me in my most difficult moments. I will always love this team. Always remember to trust yourself and your abilities to play the game.”
Come support the volleyball team on Thursday, October 30th against Peru State College at 7pm at Graceland.