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Sports

Volume 65 Number 1

Spotlight: Star spiker Clare Lenihan gives Dolphins a lift

by Marie Bucklin - 2014-10-09

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Sophomore Clare Lenihan has been playing indoor volleyball since the age of eight. Lenihan took a liking to the sport, and started playing club volleyball the following year.

Volleyball runs in the Lenihan family. Lenihan’s father played in high school, and her two older brothers, James and Jack, play in college.

Lenihan plays for the elite Southern California Volleyball Club, based in Redondo Beach, and the Chadwick varsity volleyball team. As a freshman, Lenihan was chosen All-Prep League and All-CIF.

Last summer, Lenihan earned a spot on the prestigious Girls Youth National Team.

Lenihan participated in nine days of training with the team, then went to Costa Rica to participate in a tournament for eight days.

Lenihan plays the middle blocker position. Her main duties are to block and hit the ball. At middle blocker, it is crucial to jump high in order to achieve success. At 6 feet 2 inches, Lenihan has a distinct advantage with her length.

Lenihan loves volleyball because it is a team effort.

“As for actually playing the sport, I like being able to hit something and to have a chance to have the play in my hands. I like the responsibility that I get from having the play in my hands,” Lenihan said.

According to Lenihan, team dynamics in volleyball are crucial for the team to play to its best together.

“Team dynamics are really important because without them, there really is not a team; volleyball is such a team sport. You can only touch the ball once and you can’t hold it, so you can’t control what happens next. You rely on your teammates to carry the play through after doing your part. If you are not working together as a team, it just does not work because you can’t do everything yourself,” Lenihan said.

When the team dynamic is off, because maybe two players are not getting along, the entire quality of play lowers and there is more tension on the court. “There can definitely be more tension when people are not getting along. Too much tension can lead to anger, then less confidence, then someone starts making mistakes, and that makes the rest of the team mess up,” Lenihan said.

Even with her elite national experience, Lenihan really enjoys playing on the Chadwick volleyball team.

“I really like the team. We definitely play a high enough level of volleyball where we are competing against really hard teams. It challenges us and makes it more enjoyable,” Lenihan said.

Lenihan always has fun on and off the court, and the whole team enjoys her presence.

“Clare always has a smile for her teammates. She brings her competitive and outgoing attitude to the court,” freshman Catie Mihm said.

Lenihan plays about 10 hours a week and more when there is a tournament on the weekend. She sometimes has to make social sacrifices, and managing academics with volleyball is challenging.

Lenihan aspires to play volleyball in college but is unsure where it will take her later in life. “Right now, volleyball may seem like my entire life because of the time I put into the sport, but it’s not.”

“I need to have a life outside of volleyball, too, because eventually I won’t be playing it anymore,” Lenihan said.


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lenihan, playing, volleyball, sport, play, team, because, really


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