Lauren Horbacewicz goes for a kill during a game last season. Horbacewicz was named one of the team's captains this season. - File Photo / Christian Browne

Last season, the Rowan volleyball team went 19-15 and 7-1 in the conference and made it to the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) tournament finals, where they ultimately fell short to Stockton University. 

This season, seniors Emma Cormican, Lauren Horbacewicz and Tori Mock have all been named captains for the 2020-2021 season.

Middle hitter Horbacewicz led the team with 81 blocks, ranked fourth in the NJAC in blocks, started in 29 matches, had 177 kills and 69 assists last season. 

With all of her success on the court, she excelled in the classroom as a psychology major as well, earning the NJAC All-American Honorable Mention and being named a Rowan Scholar Athlete of Distinction. She is from Toms River, New Jersey, where she played high school volleyball at Toms River High School East. 

For Horbacewicz, being named captain this year is something that means a lot to her.

“After four years of being with the same people, it is definitely a good feeling that your team looks up to you and your coaches recognize you as a leader,” Horbacewicz said. “And I think it’s really cool that I’m able to be a captain with my two roommates who are like my best friends.”

Although this is not the ideal situation she envisioned for her senior year, Horbacewicz and her teammates are still determined to have a successful season. After making it to the NJAC finals last season, she emphasized the importance of being patient and bouncing back in these unprecedented times. 

“We definitely are focusing on trying to be patient,” Horbacewicz said. “Just because we know that coming back from all of this is going to definitely be hard, and we’re maybe not going to be as strong as we were last season.”

Another factor this season is the team’s energy, she explained.

“I think our energy is really big, and I think finding ways that we can create energy while still following the [COVID-19] restrictions is going to be big for us,” Horbacewicz said.

The team shares a very close bond, and not being able to do simple things such as high-five each other or hug each other in celebration is going to be a challenge for them. It will be important this season for them to find other ways to get the team energized and keep the excitement going throughout games and practices. 

In Horbacewicz’s last season as a volleyball player, she has some personal goals that she would like to accomplish. She wants to be the best all-around player that she can possibly be, leaving everything on the court each and every time she plays.  

“I feel like it’s very hard to see it when you’re a freshman, or early in your experience at Rowan, but once you’ve been there and done it all,” Horbacewicz said, “it really is about having those experiences, such as having a whole team full of best friends.”

With the coronavirus pushing back the start of the volleyball season, it is important to Horbacewicz and her team that they are following all safety protocols, in order for her to have a chance to play during her senior year. 

“When we first come into practice we all obviously have our masks on, and we keep them on throughout practice,” Horbacewicz said. “When we first come in, our temperature gets taken and we have to sign off that we don’t have any [COVID-19] symptoms, and that all gets done before every single practice when we come in and even before lifting.”

Although these athletes want to compete this season, the safety of the players and coaches is the university’s number one priority. 

Being that this season will be her last opportunity to play in a Rowan uniform, Horbacewicz has some advice as a captain that she would like to share with her teammates. 

“I just think that I would tell them to totally trust the process, and you will be so happy with the friends that you make and the experiences that you have, it’s just so worth it,” Horbacewicz said.

Senior captains Cormican, Horbacewicz and Mock’s energies and enthusiasm have made a huge impact on their team. They are extremely excited to lead the Profs to a successful season during their final year.

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