‘Addie & Maddie’ excelling as sophomores at Eckerd

A year under their belts has made a world of a difference

Madison Hardbarger and Addie White leap for a ball at the net during practice.
Madison Hardbarger (#13) and Addie White (#2) bringing the intensity during practice. (Photo by: Cristian Ceniti) 

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The sophomore slump is a common occurrence in sport, but Addie White and Madison Hardbarger are ready to be second-year sensations for Eckerd College.

The Triton two aren’t partnered on the sand, however their shared entrance as beach volleyball freshmen last season keeps them connected.

Being a newcomer in 2023 was a tall task for White. But the Apex, N.C., native credits that opportunity in helping her reach new heights as a blocker.

“My experience from that one year is what built me up to lead more on the team this year,” said the marine science major. “Entering last year we had six seniors on the team, and this year we’ve had seven freshmen come in. So I really changed from being the younger one to one of the older ones.”

Hardbarger and White are eager to contribute as the Tritons’ prepare for their first homestand. (Photo by: Cristian Ceniti)

The change in group dynamics has put White and Hardbarger in more prominent roles, something Madison didn’t expect 12 months ago.

“I was a lot more nervous my freshman year. I had no idea what I was walking into. I don’t think I’ve ever played a sport with this calibre (of players). Just being as intense as it is, it does not compare to high school,” Hardbarger said. “This year I’ve felt a lot more calm, cool and collected because I already knew what was in store.”

The pair’s personal growth hasn’t gone unnoticed. Assistant coach Jade Hayes heaps praise on both of them.

“Honestly, Addie and Maddie both have grown so much it’s been so fun to see,” said Hayes, who joined Eckerd in January, 2023 as assistant indoor and beach volleyball coach. “They fill each other’s water bottles up when they’re playing, they’re aware and they ask ‘Hey, can I get you anything?’

“That’s something that we want in our culture in general, and I think they’re leading by example with that.”

Having learned so much from the Tritons’ staff, White is paying the favour forward with advice for this year’s freshman additions. “Definitely have a growth mindset,” she said, “and just be open to trying new things.”

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Posted: Mar 7 2024 9:10 pm
Filed under: College NCAA Sports