Women's volleyball: In Hurricane Irma's aftermath, Indiana helps Florida Gulf Coast
It's been a stressful week for Amanda Carroll and her teammates on the Florida Gulf Coast University volleyball team.
They left the campus in Fort Myers, Florida, seven days ago for a tournament in North Carolina. With Hurricane Irma headed toward the east coast of Florida, they were told to pack for an extended trip.
Panic set in when they learned the storm had taken a turn to the west. Flights were canceled, and the team couldn't go home.
"The whole team was really worried," Carroll said.
Aware of the situation in Florida, Indiana University volleyball coach Sherry Dunbar-Kruzan offered to help. The Florida Gulf Coast team was scheduled to be in Bloomington for a tournament this weekend, so Dunbar-Kruzan suggested they come early.
"They're in a bad situation," she said. "If we can alleviate a little stress, we should."
IU is paying half the cost of three extra nights in a hotel and allowing the team to use their training facilities. The university is also taking care of the team's laundry and helping out with some meals.
"They went above and beyond anything we could have imagined," said Matt Botsford, head coach of the Eagles.
The team left North Carolina at about 6 a.m. Monday in three rented minivans. They got to Bloomington about 10 hours later, checked into their hotel and went straight to University Gym along 10th Street for practice. Botsford and his staff have tried to create a sense of normalcy in the days since, with regular morning workouts in the weight room in IU's North End Zone facility, practice in the afternoons followed by study table and film sessions. For a change of scenery, the team had lunch in Indianapolis Wednesday and toured the city.
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Overall, the team has handled the situation well, Botsford said.
"I was really surprised and impressed and proud of the way they compartmentalized the different parts of their lives," he said.
Knowing their friends and family are safe helped with that. But seeing pictures on the news and social media has weighed on them, Botsford said.
Carroll, a junior from Albuquerque, New Mexico, lives in a house off campus. It has storm shutters to protect windows and doors, but her two roommates are also on the team, so she has no idea what to expect when she goes home.
It's our pleasure! Just glad you all are safe and out of the storm's path. Safe travels tomorrow and we'll see you all soon! https://t.co/H2JpfvxFVQ— Indiana Volleyball (@IUVolleyball) September 11, 2017
"That uncertainty has worried the team," she said. "But you've got to put that behind you when you're on the court."
It seems like Carroll and her teammates were able to do that last weekend, winning two out of three contests at Davidson College.
They'll have to put thoughts about the hurricane out of their minds again when the Hoosier Classic begins Friday. Maggie Rick, a junior from Alpharetta, Georgia, acknowledged preparing for the tournament has been a little different, but IU helped them make the best of an unfortunate situation.
"They've done so much and been so kind," she said.
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