It was in the seventh grade when Kristin VanHartingsveldt picked up volleyball. It wasn’t a difficult decision – VanHartingsveldt’s older siblings played volleyball as well, so it made sense that she would follow in their footsteps.
VarHartingsveldt has been captain of the Mohawk Mountainteers women’s volleyball team since the halfway point of last season.
Last year was a disappointing one for the Mountaineers after seeing some key players go down with injuries.
Head coach Andrew Nicholson says choosing VanHartingsveldt to take over the reigns as captain wasn’t a difficult decision and that her best quality is her honesty.
“Kristin’s not afraid to speak her mind as captain,” said Nicholson. “She’ll say what needs to be said, whether it’s to her teammates or even myself.”
Chantal Baker is a veteran on the team who considers VanHartingsveldt her best friend. Baker believes VanHartingsveldt possesses all of the qualities that a great captain should have.
“Sometimes when a team needs to work on certain things, the captain is too sensitive to point it out,” said Baker. “Kristin always tells us exactly what she thinks and how she feels which makes it easy for our team to get straight to the point and move forward.”
VanHartingsveldt takes her role very seriously and considers herself a captain who can lead both vocally and by example.
“It is easy to point out what the team is doing well and what we need to work on but without leading by example, they are just meaningless words,” said VanHartingsveldt. “I can tell the team to do one thing, but if I myself can’t do it, that doesn’t make me a very good leader.”
VanHartingsveldt acknowledged the team’s goal of winning an OCAA championship. She believes that this year’s team is built to reach that goal.
“This year we have depth on the bench that we can use, and as a team we need to not focus on our weaknesses, but more on our strengths,” said VanHartingsveldt. “We have the skill this year to do well, we just need to work hard and believe in ourselves.”