Senior Volleyball Player Credits Team for Personal, Professional Prep

Jessica Oltman, Reporter

Mikayla Gunkle, senior physical therapy major and volleyball team member, said she feels gratitude for her time as a Cougar.

She credits teammates and coaches for the support they have given her during a tough time for student-athletes, particularly fellow senior player Amanda Curcio

“I think she was someone I could turn to during this time because we’re both seniors. Of course, everyone was upset we didn’t have a season in the fall, but for the seniors, this is it. We just kept reminding each other to give it our all in the practices we had and to make the most of it.”

Gunkle started playing volleyball in fifth grade, and she fell in love with the high energy of the game.

“I love that it is different all the time and that there is constant movement. It keeps you on your toes and is such an energetic and fun game. Playing on the court with your teammates and feeling that energy together can make your bond with them so much stronger.”

And it’s the relationships she loves most.

“Connecting on the court just enhances your relationships and volleyball has given me relationships that will last a very long time,” Gunkle said.

She said playing volleyball has taught her how to do her best, regardless of the level of the challenge.

“Volleyball, more specifically the Misericordia volleyball program, has taught me to give everything your all. Whether that be the sport itself, school, friendships, etc., it’s all important and worth everything we have,” she said.

Mikayla Gunkle stands in formation for a set as her coaches and players look on. (Courtesy of Misericordia Athletics)

Gunkle also said being a part of a team also prompted her to work harder.

“Being a part of a team that knows how much we can achieve if we do give it our all, really made us want to work even harder to achieve our goals,” Gunkle said. “Having teammates that want the same things as you and want to succeed just pushes you even harder.”

Gunkle hopes to have the opportunity to play in the spring so she can finish her college volleyball career on a good note.

Regardless, she knows the lessons she learned on the team prepare her for her professional career as a therapist.

“After graduation, I plan to go to grad school and get my Master’s degree in ABA Therapy and an Autism certification. With that degree, I will be working with individuals with behavioral challenges and I want to focus on individuals with disabilities, specifically Autism,” Gunkle said.