A two-sport varsity captain in her Senior year and a two-year Andover Girls Volleyball Captain, Serena Liu ’19 hopes to reflect upon her teammates the same value of camaraderie that her previous teammates taught her.
Liu said, ”I still remember how my teammates welcomed me with open arms. After practice every day of my [Junior] year, my older teammates would cross the street and walk back to the dorms with me every night.”
“The volleyball team became one of the first families I had the opportunity to be a part of on the Andover campus. This is now my fourth season playing on the volleyball team, and each one of the players and coaches continues to expand the family I found four years ago. As the captain, I hope to carry with me the same kindness and culture that my older teammates showed me and give back to the team in the same way,” continued Liu.
As Captain, one of Liu’s defining qualities is her ability to motivate all members of the team through the trust she instills in her teammates and the positive energy she maintains on the court, according to Cassidy Musco ’19 and Brooklyn Wirt ’21.
“As a teammate she is extremely kind and encouraging to everyone. I love having her as a teammate because she knows when to have fun and joke around and when to be zoned in for a game. Whenever I mess up on a play, she is always the first one to come up and give me a high five. It is so nice to know that she always has my back,” said Musco.
Wirt added, “As a captain these last two years, she’s always been the person who takes a lot of pride in doing the little things rights and in doing everything with purpose. She motivates everyone because she leads by example and is always very positive, no matter what is going on on the court.”
Liu started playing volleyball unexpectedly in sixth grade after playing a variety of sports all of her life. She has since played libero, a mostly defensive position, for her whole career.
Liu said, “I remember being picked to demonstrate a drill with a current varsity player at that time, and [I] enjoyed playing so much that I joined a club travel team the same year and, ultimately, fell in love with the sport.”
Liu appreciates the teamwork that volleyball requires in order to be successful, both on and off the court. According to Liu, she tries to foster a fun environment where each player feels like an equal part of the team through encouragement and team bonding off the court.
“What I love the most about volleyball is the team aspect of the sport. More than just the individual, the game inspires the need to build confidence and reliance on each other for good chemistry on the court. I try to make each player feel integrated into the larger narrative of the community we build as a volleyball team by inspiring confidence, passion, and resilience. I find that this happens most of the time on the volleyball court when I voice my encouragements, do silly dances, or simple gestures like giving high-fives and smiles. Off the court, I get to know each player more on a personal level by organizing daily team dinners or having conversations on the path,” said Liu.
Liu inspires the team on the court with her constant hard work on defense and relentless faith in her teammates, according to Musco and Adaeze Izuegbunam ’20.
Musco said, “Serena is by far our best defensive player on the team. Every game she dives and hustles for every ball, even if other players have given up. She controls our back row, and the team would be lost on the court without her.”
“Serena is a super encouraging captain. She is so kind and is actually part of the reason I came to Andover, as she was an excellent host. She made it exciting to be here, and she continues to do so during our practices,” said Izuegbunam. “As a libero, she works incredibly hard during practice and pushes us to work harder with her, whether it be through inspiring other back row players to put in the same effort she does or motivating our hitters to hit a ball that she won’t be able to get.”
Izuegbunam continued, “Volleyball is very dependent on your mental state and confidence in your ability in the moment, and one of my favorite things about Serena is the fact that she has faith in us that never wavers, even if we don’t particularly have that faith in ourselves. She practices what she preaches and is one of the most dedicated people I know, and is the prime example of what a captain should be.”