It is game night for Emerson women’s volleyball. The crowd looks on as the ball goes back and forth between both teams, until one player spikes the ball and raises her fist into the air, igniting the gym floor.
Originally from Pacific Palisades, California, freshman outside hitter Bella Edwards has a prowess that dates from her preteens all the way through high school. In her final high school season, she led the team to a 22-2 record.
Edwards is the team leader in kills, digs, and total points. She also ranks 8th in those categories, in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference.
This spark breathes life to not only Edwards’ squad mates who are on the court with her, but also to the crowd in the Bobbi Brown and Steven Plofker Gym.
Senior outside hitter Jules Augustine, co-captain of the Lions, said the group has adopted this new drive brought by the young freshman.
“She’s awesome,” Augustine said. “She really pumps up the energy and gets us all revved up.”
Augustine also described the importance of Edwards and her fighting spirit moving forward.
“It’s really important because at the end of the season, everyone’s tired,” Augustine said. “We have a lot of injuries most of the time, and it’s important to stay positive and it’s important to have a positive voice on the court.”
Not only have the players taken to this new enthusiasm, but so has their coach.
Head coach Ben Read said he has had a good feeling about Edwards making an impact whether it was on the court, or with fans.
“I was confident [Edwards] was going to be a fan favorite,” Read said. “The way she plays the game, she’s one hundred percent on the court [and] goes for every ball.”
Read also said nothing but great things about the positive vibes brought to the court by the freshman.
“The way she celebrates when she gets a kill, a block, an ace, or [when] her teammates do something great, is just awesome,” said Read. “When she does that to such an extreme, it just can’t help but rub off on the rest of the team.”
Edwards said she is happy about bringing this new exuberance.
“I think the energy has worked really well,” Edwards said. “I think people feed off of it, which is awesome. They’re very receptive to my energy, it’s very boisterous and loud, but I think it’s a good thing and that it does great things on the court.”
Where does this spark come from? For Edwards, it’s simply her endearment for the game of volleyball.
“It comes from passion,” Edwards said. “I love volleyball. I’ve been doing it since I was ten years old, so this comes from pure love of the game.”
Emerson (9-4, 1-2) travels to Waltham, Mass. today to take on Brandeis University (4-5, 0-0), at 7 p.m.