Andover Boys Volleyball Co-Captain Sam Rodgers ’23 began playing volleyball at five years old on a non-competitive co-ed team. Now in his fourth year on Andover’s team, Rodgers leads with a focus on positivity, encouraging teammates to find a balance between physical and mental well-being.
“It’s okay to get down or realize you messed up…but just always stay positive and continue to encourage people to talk on the court. I think just when everyone’s having fun that just makes everyone play better, especially in volleyball… Energy matters so much,” said Rodgers.
Inti Stephenson ’25 believes Rodgers is reflective of his efforts to maintain a positive attitude, specifically in his pep talks.
“He’s just always smiling… In team dynamics, there’s always the funny one, the goofy one, the one that’s trying to…roast people. He’s never negative. He’ll just be Sam… Always smiling, trying to be positive,” said Stephenson.
Eddie Lou ’24 admires Rodgers’ ability to collaborate with the team’s coaches. Lou reflected on a time Rodgers made a crucial suggestion in the development of a play.
“When we don’t get a good pass and we become out of system, we usually always have to set the ball either in one or two directions, but his suggestion added another third possible direction for the attack. And I guess his ingenuity there was, ‘Whoa, we as players can also have a say in how the game works,’” said Lou.
According to Stephenson, Rodgers remains calm even during challenging games, further serving as a dependable figure to his teammates in the midst of high-stress situations.
“[When we need] to be serious and just an extra boost, he’ll say the right things that need to be said. And whenever we’re in a pressure situation where we’re losing or we’re down points, you never see a panic face on him,” Stephenson said.
In addition to leading by example, Rodgers considers himself a vocal leader. By being one of the loudest on the court, Rodgers hopes to spread energy and provide direction to his teammates.
“Energy [in] volleyball matters so much because it’s very much a momentum sport. And so when we get down, our coach is good at calling time outs and he’ll have me and our other Captain Logan [Suryamega ’23] just [lift] the team up. And basically, we’ll just say, ‘Hey, you know, we’re struggling a little bit right now, but we know we’re better than this. We know how good we can be,” said Rodgers.
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