Unsure of PH return, Lindsay Stalzer hopes she leaves with ‘legacy of excellence’
MANILA, Philippines — Lindsay Stalzer has yet to decide whether she will return to the Premier Volleyball League in 2023 as the organizers look to stage the Reinforced Conference as the season opener in February.
“TBD (To be decided). We will see,” said Stalzer, who has been playing in the country since 2014 and served as F2 Logistics’ import for the past three seasons.
The only certain thing for the 38-year-old spiker is she will continue playing.
“I’ll probably continue to play at least until the spring somewhere else. I don’t know exactly where, but working on it,” she said. “I don’t know. I always say this should be my last year, but I can’t seem to quit. Volleyball is just part of my DNA now, I guess.”
For the first time in her eight-year career in the Philippines, Stalzer will not be in the semifinals as F2 Logistics finished fifth with a 4-4 record, capping off their stint with a rousing 25-16, 25-22, 27-25 victory over the semis-bound Petro Gazz in a no-bearing game on Tuesday at Philsports Arena.
If that was her final game in the Philippines, the resident import hopes to leave a legacy of a foreign player who always lifts her team to the finals.
“I wanted to leave a legacy of just excellence, you know. I want to be known as the import that can always get to the final. She lifts up her team and helps them get to the final every time, she’s dependable, and she’s a team player. She works super hard, and just really has embraced everything about the Philippines,” said Stalzer shedding tears.
“The fans have been amazing to me, that’s a big reason why I keep coming back. I hope I leave a small bright spot in the fans’ hearts, and all the people that I’ve played with and played under,” she added.
Stalzer started playing in the Philippine Superliga with Cignal in 2014 before winning back-to-back titles for Foton, formerly Chery Tiggo. She also won championships in her next two squads, transferring to Petron in 2017 and 2018 and jumping ship to F2 Logistics in the following year.
In her first PVL stint, Stalzer and the Cargo Movers failed to reach the semifinals. The team captain admitted it hurts a lot as she couldn’t hold back her tears when asked about missing the Final Four.
“It hurts a lot. I take my job very seriously, and we fell short. I think maybe I took it too seriously and didn’t play as freely, didn’t allow everyone to play as freely as they want to. So, you know, this past week has been kind of very, very difficult for me, and I’ve probably not been that much fun to be around, to be honest,” said Stalzer.
“Tonight, we planned to just have fun, and I changed my mindset, the past couple of days. But yeah, this past week has been super hard to accept the fact that I just … I did everything I could but it wasn’t enough this year.”
The Bradley University product, though, rued team’s struggles through the tournament as it had several health issues and injuries, failing to sustain its momentum after beating Creamline in five sets but lost two of its last three assignments.
“It’s a mystery to me what unraveled this season, really. I know there were a lot of challenges that we faced. I thought we could overcome them. And we had a lot of just tough breaks, like with the schedule being changed, and this and that, and this and that,” Stalzer said. “So, lot of things that are out of our control, and it’s… yeah, it’s sayang. Big, big sayang.”
Stalzer hopes the Cargo Movers would be utilized in the right way for the next conference, where they will go all-Filipino or just in case she won’t be their import in the 2023 Reinforced Conference.
“I think they need to really break it down and figure some things out. This team has a lot of great tools, and they just need to be utilized in the right way,” she said. “They could have a really good comeback, but they need to put in the focus and the thoughtfulness and a plan how to do that. But I think they’re very capable.”