BY KATHRYN GAITO
The Drake women’s volleyball team just ended one of their best seasons in history and the Times-Delphic had the chance to sit down with Odessa Cody to talk about her passion for volleyball and her time at Drake.
Cody is one of two seniors that played on the team this year. She is from the city of Chicago and came to Drake for the Health Sciences program. Cody said she plans on taking a year off after graduation before she attends medical school. Cody has played volleyball since the sixth grade and it became her passion during the eighth grade.
Q: What do you love most about the sport?
A: I love this sport because of one of the most infuriating and special things about this sport is how much of a team sport it is. Volleyball has major differences from other sports like track because of the team aspect.
In volleyball, the girl next to you has such an impact on the outcome and you have such an impact on the out. Both of you know that going in. If you can’t play for yourself then you play for everyone else on and off the court.
The team aspect that the sport is much more difficult because having an off game is not just bad for you but it is hard for the rest of the team.
I’ve been lucky to have played on very friend-originated teams and I’ve known people who haven’t been so lucky. I’ve made lifelong friends throughout the process.
Coming to college was a shift because I never had to compete, being a walk-on was different.
The competition has made me grow and the sport has helped me to make friends that I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else.
Q: How has the team changed since you started at Drake?
A: Every year I have been here there has been more competitiveness in the gym with the skill level on the team.
The program as a whole has gotten astronomically better and that can be shown through the scores. This year we were 23-10 which is worlds different from 2-28.
The culture is one of the biggest things that have changed. We have been working on it every year, but we have this really open, friendly culture. In the past there has been separation between class but the major change has happened in the last two years.
Every girl on the court cares about you and knows about your life which makes it a big family dynamic.
The mind set of the team has changed. We used to be like “well, we’ll go out and see what happens and try our best,” where as now it’s “We are going out and winning this game and here is how we are going to do it.”
There is more dedication from each girl on the team.
Q: Describe this season. What was the biggest accomplishment from the team and personally?
A: The team started the season off by setting goals. The first goal was to have a 21 season, which hasn’t been done in a number of years. The second goal was to make it to the conference tournament.
Doing both of those was a huge accomplishment for us. We tied this year to be the third best team in Drake history. We went to the tournament for the first time since 2010.
My biggest accomplishment was senior night, even though the team didn’t end the season the way we wanted to.
That night I tied with one of our outsides for number of kills with 12 and I had a really high hitting percentage of 357.
One of the hardest things about playing a sport for so long is the standards that you set for yourself.
The next game was Indiana State, which we beat both times in conference but lost to that night. Before that game I talked to my setter and she said, “I don’t need you to play your best game, but I need you to be smart with the ball because we want to win for you and Kyla.”
One of the biggest accomplishments was having the confidence and energy that I put into the game. At the end of that game I received the All-Tournament award which is given out by the coach.
Q: How do you feel the team is set up for next year?
A: I think next year I’m excited to see how people step up.
They kneaded on such a hard knot to process and I hope they remember the feeling of that last game, so they don’t let it happen again.
The team has amazing players with new skills coming in. There is more competition in the gym for people who may not have been challenged before.
I think they are set up to have a really great year. They have great girls who get along and the same coaching staff as this year.
I think they have every capability of achieving the same thing if not better than this year.
Q: Anything else that you want to add about your experience here at Drake?
A: Just an overall note about the athlete community at Drake. The experience has been so special to me. All my closest friends are athletes here.
The staff and anyone who supports all the sports here have special roles here and they make it great for the players.