After just one visit to Temple’s campus last spring, Downingtown, Pa. native Emily Carlin knew where she wanted to spend her final year of college.
“I fell in love with the campus, and I heard nothing but good things about Temple from a number of a people,” Carlin said. “I really felt like there was no other choice for me than to come to Temple.”
After winning the 2009 Pennsylvania State Championship with Bishop Shanahan High School, and being named MVP of the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association State Championship all-tournament team, Carlin chose to continue her play at Radford University in Virginia. She quickly burst onto the scene at Radford, winning Freshman of the Week honors in her second week of collegiate play. Carlin left her mark there, ending her junior year at No. 10 all-time in kills.
After Carlin’s junior season, she decided Radford was not the place for her anymore, and realized she wanted to come home for her senior season.
“I chose Temple for a number of different reasons,” Carlin said. “It was close to home, it’s a great location in the city and now that I’m older I can actually enjoy it.”
Coming into a new team as a senior can be difficult, but Carlin thinks the transition has gone smoothly.
“I think I have adapted well, I am already best friends with all the girls,” Carlin said. “They’re a great group of girls to work with, as well as the coaches. I am really open to anything, so any coaching style I can adapt, and coming in early in the spring really helped me with the transition.”
Radford University plays in the Big South Conference, which is primarily made up of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina schools, so traveling is not as big an aspect of the experience as it is at Temple.
“I have never really flown anywhere for competition,” Carlin said. “The traveling is definitely going to be the biggest difference. We took buses everywhere we went the last three years. Schools we played at Radford were schools I have never heard of, so it is really cool to be a part of a conference with really well known teams.”
Carlin’s situation is unique in that she is coming to a new team but already has experience.
“We only had two seniors [Gabriella Matautia and Elyse Burkert], so that is a really small senior class,” coach Bakeer Ganes said. “It is huge for us that we brought another senior like [Carlin] onto the team to provide leadership and experience because we have a large number of new kids that came in. She becomes a large part of our team in that aspect, but we will have to see if that translates into sufficient playing time.”
Carlin knows where she stands on this team. She realizes she is a senior but does not want to step on anyone’s toes. She is more concerned about how she carries herself on the court.
“This is my first season here,” Carlin said. “I want to come in and lead with my actions and not necessarily be a vocal leader until I feel comfortable. I don’t want to think I have the right to have to come in and start telling people what to do. I understand where I am with all the girls, but I kind of want to do my best to lead with my play on the court and listen to the other leaders.”
This past weekend at the University of Buffalo Invitational, Carlin finished second on the team in kills with 21 and fifth in digs with nine.
After going 1-1 in Buffalo, Carlin and her teammates will return to action Friday at the Patriot Invitational in Fairfax, Va. On the schedule for Temple are matches against Copper, George Mason and her former team—Radford.
Carlin is excited for a fresh start and wants to prove that she can compete on this level. With a different system in place it may take some time to work out the changes, but Ganes believes Carlin is ready since she came in during the spring and worked with coaches and training staff.
“I am so excited to be here,” Carlin said. “I am here to listen and learn, and with a great group of girls and coaching staff it is easy to do that.”
Rich Fogel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.