ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Eckerd College Tritons beach volleyball player Teagan VanderMey has lived and breathed volleyball.
Her parents are coaches, and she is a certified referee for the game, so is well-versed in the ins and outs.
“I think my biggest strength is just strategy,” VanderMey said during morning practice. “I know the game very well. I’ve been around it since I was born.”
Before arriving at Eckerd, VanderMey played indoor volleyball in middle and high school while being team captain at Albuquerque High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She also captured a volleyball player of the year award as part of a 2021 District Championship-winning team.
Entering this season with the Tritons, the acclimation to her new teammates and coaches has been seamless.
“I’ve formed such a great bond with them,” she said. “Me and my roommate are really close, which is crazy, because I had never met her until I came here. But we’re really close now and I just really appreciate all of them.
” It’s making this experience so much better.”
Assistant coach Jade Hayes added that while VanderMey is only a freshman she handles herself like a “mama bear.”
“I think she wants that for herself and for her team and she’s always ready and willing to help … she’s a lover of the game, and just provides a lot of spoken value to this team, more than she could ever know.”
For VanderMey, while the season record of 2-6 is not what she hoped for, she understands that with the combination of many freshmen, plus a late coaching change, this season would be tough.
However, as the year moves forward, the 5-foot-7 player has some targets.
“We’ve played St. Leo (University) a lot of times, and we really want to beat them. That’s our goal,” she said.
“So, hopefully, we see them in AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association tourney) … and we just keep growing as a team and really build up the freshmen and get us ready for next season, too.”