Athlete of the Week: Clare Delaplane, Volleyball


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Athlete of the Week: Clare Delaplane, Volleyball

Jason Mitala

Don’t ask Clare Delaplane how Hoops Mania 2018 was. Unlike most of the Class of 2022, who spent last Friday night celebrating the beginning to the basketball season, Delaplane and the rest of the Villanova volleyball team were busy taking on Xavier in a Big East matchup. Delaplane, a freshman from Downers Grove, Illinois, has taken the women’s volleyball team by surprise thus far this season, notching a position in the starting lineup and receiving Big East Freshman of the Week.

Delaplane, an undecided-student in the School of Business, has been playing the game since fifth grade. She was drawn to ‘Nova for the impressive academics and the atmosphere of the volleyball program, including her teammates and coaches. She admits being away from home has been difficult, but a match at DePaul (Chicago) last week provided the opportunity for a homecoming, complete with a family visit.

In light of all her early successes, however, Delaplane has remained humble, saying, “winning (the award) was exciting, but it is all due to the support from my teammates and coaches. I’m more focused on getting to the Big East Tournament in November.” 

Delaplane was also quick to point out some of the struggles that come along with being a student athlete, noting the difficulty of playing on a team that’s constantly on the road. “I have to work hard at managing my time between volleyball and school work,” she said, adding that she sometimes has to miss class due to travel conflictions. An example of this came just this past week when, after falling to Butler on the road, Delaplane had to travel back and prepare for the week’s coming midterms.  

When asked about how the game has changed for her at the next level, Delaplane admitted the speed of the game has increased. Her focus is entirely on the good of the team, noting, “In practice, I try to focus on getting better every day and doing anything to help my teammates.” 

The ‘Cats are 10-9 overall and 3-4 in Big East Play this season. The next few weeks provide some exciting opportunities to watch the team, including an October 13 matchup with Creighton at the Field House for First Responder’s Night and a Special Olympics Weekend showdown with nationally-ranked Marquette.