Photo by John Nakano

Senior captain Courtney Felinski, an outside hitter, is in the midst of her last season as at Tech. A native of Magnolia, Texas, Felinski has played a key role the past few seasons. Now a senior, it hasn’t really hit her that her college career is coming to a close.

“It’s been sort of weird,” said Courtney Felinski when asked what it’s like being a senior leader.

“I definitely don’t feel like a senior. I don’t think it will hit me until later that I’m really done after this year. I’m sad to be nearing the end of my career here, but I love being seen as someone my teammates can ask for advice since I’m the old one now,” Felinski said.

Tech opened up their season at South Carolina for the Gamecock Invitational. After coming out of the tournament 2-1, Felinski was pleased with their performance.

“I think our first weekend went really well.” Felinski said. “We made improvements throughout the weekend, which is what preseason is for.”

“One thing we knew we needed to improve on was our offense, and we were pretty efficient with that during the whole tournament, which was great. I think we need to focus on starting matches off quickly and staying consistent in tight situations.”

The Jackets bring a young squad to the court this season. Of the 13 girls on the team, nine are underclassman, including a group of four freshmen. Felinski has been impressed by what she has seen out of the freshman thus far.

“Our freshmen have done great so far.” Felinski said. “They did well adjusting to workouts in the summer and have played really well all throughout preseason. We all just try to keep           checking in on them and making sure things aren’t getting too overwhelming. Homesickness kind of creeps up on you in-season, so it’s good to make sure they’re all doing okay with that too.”

The freshmen aren’t the only new faces on the court for the Jackets this season. Coach Michelle Collier is beginning her first season at the helm with the Jackets after the departure of Coach Tonya Johnson. Collier previously coached at Jacksonville University.

“Michelle is much more relaxed, and I think that’s a by product of how she grew up around the game. She’s very concerned about us enjoying our experience as college athletes and just loving the game every time we get to play, which is awesome. She’s also very good at removing stress from the game,” Felinski said.

The Jackets have a long season ahead of themselves, but Felinski is already looking ahead at some of the biggest games in her final season.

“I am SO excited to play Georgia.” Felinski said. “It’s going to be our first home game, and after three weeks on the road, we are going to be so ready to be back in O’Keefe. It’s always a crazy atmosphere when we play them, so it should be fun. I’m also really excited about senior night. I might not be too happy when it actually comes, because I know it’s going to be really emotional, but I just have a feeling it’s going to be really special.”

Even with a new head coach and a young team, Felinski has high hopes for the Jackets this season. Her expectations for the season are high even though the team is in the middle of a coaching transition.

“I expect us to have a great time playing together and to win a lot of games,” Felinski said. “We are establishing a new culture within our program and are working toward some big goals, and I’m excited to see those materialize. We know what we want is going to take a tremendous amount of hard work, but we’re up to the challenge.”

Felinski and the Jackets head up to Nashville this weekend for the Lipscomb Invitational. They open their season at O’Keefe on Friday, September 19th against the Georgia Bulldogs.