“Our goal is to win a set this season,” says psychology student Syra Marquenie, 19, optimistically after yet another defeat. Last Thursday, her team lost yet another match, in emphatic style, and so it is ranked last, with a points-against score of a whopping -528.


Nevertheless, Marquenie thinks the team is making progress. “Before this season, none of us had ever touched a volleyball. In our first match, we managed to score three points per set. Last week we scored sixteen points, the highest score we have ever obtained. We were really happy with that,” she says with considerable self-deprecation.

Her teammate Carlijn Balvert, 20 (Bachelor’s degrees in Education and Science), adds that the team wishes to be a ‘fun and honest opponent’ that is not a sad pushover. For this reason, the ladies have now begun training twice a week, in hopes that they will make some progress soon and will actually win a few matches.

Two players of Erasmus Volley’s G11 team (Syra Marquenie is on the right) get in each other’s way. Image credit: Jack Parker


However, it appears to be harder than expected to show the progress they have made in actual matches. “No one can tell that we have improved a lot. That’s a little discouraging,” says Balvert. “In the changing room we’ll tell each other, ‘We’ll lose, anyway.’”

The fact that the ladies are busy with their studies does not help their results, either. “When you’re doing your work placement or are sitting exams, you’ll miss out on the odd training session,” Balvert admits.

Thrown to the lions

Their trainer/coach, fellow club member and fellow student Twan Lemmers had never coached a team before and was thrown to the lions (lionesses?) at the beginning of the season. “I had no idea what to expect when I was told I was going to have to coach this team.” Nevertheless, the experienced volleyball player is doing a decent job of it.

However poor the results may have been so far, Lemmers is immensely proud of the team. “I hugely enjoy watching them play.” He experiences not just moments of pride, but moments of wonder. “In between the comical mistakes, I’ll see them play shots that make me think, I don’t know how they just did that, but they somehow managed to get that ball over the net!” Lemmers says, beaming with pride.

Carlijn Balvert avoids taking the risk of an over-arm serve and performs an under-arm serve instead. Image credit: Jack Parker

Club pub

If it is up to the ladies themselves, these successful shots will soon result in their winning their first set and spending a rare night at the pub together. Due to their busy schedules, the girls hardly ever have time to hang out together outside training sessions, although they did attend the club’s gala, which took place last Friday.

“In the next calendar year we’ll win our first set. When we do, we will all go to our club’s pub, Pardoen, to celebrate,” Balvert promises, grinning.

Erasmus Volley