Dana Westfield didn’t know anybody when she joined the team last season.
But it didn’t take long for the redshirt-freshman outside hitter to develop a relationship with senior setter Kyra Coundourides.
Though Westfield was the team’s sole freshman in 2016, she wasn’t the Owls’ only newcomer.
Westfield and Coundourides are deciding which members of Fall Out Boy to dress up as when they go see the rock band on Oct. 29 at the Wells Fargo Center.
“We’re going all out for this,” Coundourides said. “Literally when any Fall Out Boy song comes on we sing together.”
Westfield didn’t play as a true freshman in 2016. She spent the season learning to transition into a position she “never had any real experience in,” she said, while also adapting to a new lifestyle away from home.
“I don’t know if I was ready to play last year,” Westfield said. “Making that transition from playing high school to college and going to school, there was a lot of stuff going on.”
Unlike Westfield, Coundourides already had plenty of college experience. Coundourides transferred to Temple last year after playing her first two collegiate seasons at Virginia Tech.
At Virginia Tech, Coundourides played 221 sets. She used her experience and knowledge of the college game to help Westfield get settled.
Every day after practices, Westfield said she stayed late for extra conditioning just to “be even” with the upperclassmen. Westfield was putting in the extra work, and Coundourides made sure to let her know that she was still a part of the team even though she wasn’t playing.
“Last year was definitely a growing year for her being the only freshman,” Coundourides said. “It was hard because she was brand new to the college experience and the college volleyball experience basically by herself. The one thing not only I tried to do, but everybody on the team, we just tried to make her feel included and let her know that we had her back.”
The extra miles Westfield ran, weights she lifted and games she studied are starting to pay off. After watching every match from the sideline last year, Westfield has transitioned into her new role as a right side hitter.
Westfield has 91 kills, which is second most on the team. The only player ahead of her is senior all-conference player Izzy Rapacz.
“Dana’s definitely grown,” Coundourides said. “It makes me smile because she was really shy and timid last year. You could tell she wasn’t being herself and…she was nervous and everything. But this year, it’s definitely awesome to see her cheering and being that loud, funny Dana that she is.”
Westfield and Coundourides grew their friendship during the 2016 season, and they learned they share some of the same music tastes. This is when the two started to bond over Fall Out Boy.
They have never seen the band play live, but they said they enjoy singing songs together like “Thnks fr th Mmrs,” “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” and “Dance, Dance.”
When they attend the Fall Out Boy concert, Coundourides wants to go dressed up as Pete Wentz, the band’s bassist. Westfield still doesn’t know who she wants to dress as.
The bond Westfield and Coundourides have built off the court makes for a trusting connection on the court, Coundourides said.
“It makes my job so much easier,” Coundourides said. “I know that if I’m out there and she makes a mistake, I can go up to her and make her laugh one time and just make her forget about it, trusting that she’s going to get the kill the next time.”
“It’s fun to be out there and physically help [the team],” Westfield said. “I’m just happy to be able to play. It’s been nice to feel like I’m contributing more to the team.”