Saying Goodbye to UMass Lowell Volleyball

Over the course of four years, the women’s team has compiled a 20-91 record. This year’s 2018 record stood at 5-22.

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Saying Goodbye to UMass Lowell Volleyball

Amber Buttaro

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LOWELL: Students are heartbroken after the recent extermination of the Women’s Varsity Volleyball program at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. The decision is a result of the financial issues that the program had been struggling with for a while.

Peter Casey, the Athletics Director at Umass Lowell, says that the overall reason for cutting the women’s volleyball program was to address the financial problems that the department had been struggling with for a while. ​”We know how difficult this news is for our volleyball team and coaches, their families and friends and the River Hawk community,” Casey says. “We hope these student-athletes will continue their education with us, but we know how important volleyball is to them. We will do everything we can to help them find the best fit.”

The volleyball programs funds will be used to support other sports programs at Umass Lowell. “In the end, we had to make a decision about where we should invest to fund our priorities and maximize our competitiveness in the America East and Hockey East conferences. After working collaboratively with a committee representing faculty, student affairs, finance, athletics and other areas of the university, it became clear this was a step we needed to take,” Casey said. Their funds will also be used as extra money to go towards other student-athlete financial packages, better the salaries of other sports coaches, and to make many members on the coaching staff full-time.

The members of the Women’s volleyball team are absolutely heartbroken and angry. This decision had become a major shock to many of the members of the team, while others were not shocked at all. Kat Claybaugh, a junior outside hitter said, “Some of us burst into tears immediately. I didn’t.” Claybaugh mentioned that even though she was upset with the whole process of this, she still was not shocked that the program was cut. This was due to the treatment of the volleyball program in the past. “Our program has kind of been consistently ignored by the administration at UMass Lowell. Ignored.”

Underfunded. It felt like we were the easy cut to make. I was just really, really angry” Claybaugh said.

Another member of the team, senior libero and captain Lindsey Visvardis, stated that: “There was no indication, no talk of anything financial. I don’t know if there was much consideration to how not only the current players would be affected and coaching staff but everyone else who has a part in this program.” It is expected that many of the freshmen and sophomores will transfer schools, but the juniors and seniors will stay. Claybaugh says, “I definitely think a lot of the young girls are gonna transfer.” She also goes on to say, “I decided that although I didn’t get a senior night, and I didn’t get any proper closure, I decided I’m not gonna transfer because I have built my home here. I think transferring at this point would hurt more.”.

To get some outside perspectives on this drastic decision, Tewksbury seniors Elizabeth Ezekiel and Kerry Shea, members of the girls volleyball team this past fall, were asked for their thoughts on the matter. I interviewed them on their own perspectives and how they would feel if our volleyball program here at Tewksbury Memorial High School got cut because of budget problems. Ezekiel, who was a senior captain this year, said, “I would be upset because it’s been such a big part of my high school career.” I then asked starting outside hitter, Kerry Shea, the same question and her thoughts. Shea stated that “I would feel really really sad on the inside. I would say for a lot of people volleyball is an outlet for getting out their feelings.” Overall, It should be interesting to see if the program ever makes a come back in the years to come.