The Lawrence University volleyball team has had its fair share of tough defeats this season. The women lost on Oct. 9 in a very hard-fought five-game match against Lake Forest College, dropping the Vikings’ record to 2-4 in conference play and 6-15 overall. Such a record is not uncommon for a team with so little experience. Of the Vikings’ 15 players, 11 are freshmen or sophomores and three are juniors. The Vikings’ lack of experience makes it hard to compete with some of the elite conference teams whose lineups are considerably older and naturally more refined. Head Coach Matt Schoultz is in his second year and is optimistic about the future of the program; he believes his women have the potential to be successful in the near future. “The team has gone through some growing pains this season, and we’re getting through it and getting better every game,” said Schoultz of his youthful Vikes. Schoultz and his players are confident that these “growing pains” will help the team learn and continue to develop into a legitimate conference title contender. Although the Vikings have plenty of young talent, their leader and most accomplished player will be graduating after the season. Kelly Mulcahy, a senior from Glendale, Wis., already has her name in the record books and is continuing to make her presence felt against opponents and among her own teammates. Mulcahy holds the Vikings record for most kills in a game with 29 and is also second on the list with 28. She is tied at sixth for service aces in a game and holds tenth place for blocks in a game. The senior standout is also approaching some of the Lawrence career records, as she is currently second place in career kills. Mulcahy has been a four-year starter for the Vikings and has led the team in kills the past two seasons. Although Mulcahy’s outstanding individual play has been evident, it is her effect on her teammates as a leader that impresses her coach most. “Kelly is our leader. Girls look to her to help them develop their skills and they also look to her during in-game situations,” Schoultz said. The Vikings and their coach are thankful for the leadership Mulcahy has displayed in her illustrious career and hope her competitive play will resonate with the younger players who are still developing. If the Vikings can continue to grow and develop, their youth will turn into experience and the “growing pains” will turn into wisdom and leadership. Most importantly, what were once labeled tough losses or hard-fought defeats will be wins.