Olivia Finckel

The Brutal One

Olivia Finckel ’20 strong squats 290 pounds, deadlifts 330, touches 10 feet on her vertical leap and is one of the quickest players on the volleyball court.

But that’s not the reason she calls herself “The Brutal One.” Finckel is not afraid to call out her teammates on the court.

“I’m a comforter off the court and an enforcer on [it],” she says.

She’s also one of the Tigers’ top players. In September, she led TU to a 2-1 record at the Rutgers Invitational, highlighted by wins over Virginia and Princeton. She logged 39 kills, posted two service aces, worked at the net for nine assisted blocks and added 14 digs to earn selection to the all-tournament team.

“She’s an outstanding leader who walks the walk,” says Michael Chatman, TU’s former assistant athletic director for strength and conditioning. “Because of that and her work ethic it’s easy for others to follow her.”

One of the team’s most durable players—she was one of only four to play in all 123 sets for the Tigers last season—Finckel almost didn’t experience anything at TU. Although she attended Dulaney High School, just five-and-a-half miles from campus, she didn’t think staying close to home for college was best for her. 

During one year at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida, Finckel helped lead the Sailfish to the NCAA Division II championship game and made the all-tournament team. Not bad for someone who didn’t play competitive volleyball until her freshman year of high school (and who admits that at one point her coach gave her a Volleyball for Dummies book).

Finckel aimed to play at the highest level, so when she decided to transfer, she looked toward home.

“Coming to TU, I was able to expand my game and catch up to play at the level I want,” she says. “This coaching staff are some of the most knowledgeable people I’ve worked with. They have such a broad background and are pushing me to be the best I can be.” 

A psychology major who wants to become a sports psychologist, Finckel is interested in neuroscience and functions of the brain. She’s made the Dean’s List and served on the Dean’s Academic Advisory Committee.

The Tigers were 17-15 last year (when Finckel ranked third on the team with 293 kills), which ended with a fifth set loss in the CAA semifinals. For Finckel and the rest of the seniors the goal for is clear: winning the program’s first CAA title.

“We’re trying to get rings,” Finckel says. 

Typical blunt talk from The Brutal One.

Hall of Fame

Former TU football player Jamal White
                                                     Jamal White

Five all-time Tiger greats were honored at TU’s 56th annual Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on October 18. The inductees were Karen Maisenhalder '80 (volleyball/softball), Gary Neal '07 (basketball), Kelly Robinson '08 (women’s track & field/basketball), Jamal White '04 (football) and Shannon Witzel '07 (women’s lacrosse). “It’s another terrific group,” said Hall of Fame president Rich Bader. “We received a near-record number of nominations to consider for 2019 and look forward to reviewing the others as well as new nominations for next year.”

She’s an Inspiration

baksetball player Kionna Jeter

Junior guard Kionna Jeter won the 2019 John Randolph Inspiration Award. It is named for former William & Mary athletic director John Randolph, who lost a courageous battle with cancer in 1995. The award is presented to individuals who, through strength of character and human spirit, serve as an inspiration to all to maximize their potential and ability for success.

Mister Chairman

Director of Athletics Tim Leonard will chair the NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Committee for the 2019–20 season. The committee, on which Leonard served the past two years, determines the field of teams and bracket for the NCAA Tournament and works to determine protocol and recommendations to the NCAA on the sport’s postseason.  

An Honor to be Nominated

Former TU punter and kicker Sean Landeta, who played 22 seasons in the NFL, has been selected as a modern-era player nominee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020. The 122 nominees will be reduced to 25 semifinalists in November. Ultimately, five will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

True Student-Athletes

TU field hockey, which posted a team GPA of 3.61 in 2018–19, has received the Colonial Athletic Association Team Academic Excellence Award. The CAA recognizes the team in each conference-sponsored sport with the highest GPA following the previous academic year. The Tigers were recognized by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association as a National Academic Team in March.