All or nothing; it’s a fairly simple focus. Many teams and people have used this mentality as a means of motivation, and the UAA Volleyball team buys into it as well.
“Our goal this year is a little more clear-cut. We want to win conference,” said UAA Volleyball veteran Stacie Meisner. “So deciding if we are ready to play teams like Northwest Nazarene University and Seattle Pacific University is not really the issue, we just have to be ready.”
UAA’s next road trip consists of matches against both Northwest Nazarene University and Seattle Pacific University. In the 2008 season, UAA lost both of these matches three sets to none.
“It is hard to compare last year’s team to this year’s team. This year, our non-conference schedule was a little more difficult than last year’s,” said Head Coach Chris Green. “NNU and SPU both have two of the top teams in the conference. To defeat them away from home will be a huge challenge for us.”
“Last year when we went on that road trip, we really did not compete well. We hope to put up a better challenge this year.”
From a coach’s perspective, putting the best effort forward each game is the most one can ask for. But, only the players know what their best is.
“We are really strong offensively this year, whereas last year we were not quite as effective offensively but made up for it in our defense,” Meisner said when asked about differences between the two seasons.
When comparing statistics, UAA has improved from last season. After their first 19 games last year, UAA’s record was 11-8. This year, after 19 games, their record stands one better at 12-7.
Both their 2008 and progress 2009 season, so far, stand above their 2007 season, which ended with a record of 5-19.
What could inspire such a turnaround in seasons?
“It’s really been a refocus on fundamentals, and just bringing in talented players to the program,” Meisner said. “Coach Green has had everything to do with that. He’s a great coach and knows the game well, and is able to communicate his philosophy and techniques to the team, which in the end makes us successful.”
This increase in fundamentals has affected the team in many ways. They have improved their overall match consistency, which has allowed them to win big games. Though improving fundamentals has helped, the main factor in turning the volleyball team from a losing team to a winning one has been hard work and dedication by both the players and the staff.
“Last year, we had a group of returning players who were experienced and motivated,” Green said. “Mostly, we have played well in big games, and with the new players gaining experience, we have a lot to look forward to in the future.”
In order to keep GNAC championship in sight, the Seawolves need to win on the road against both Seattle Pacific and Northwest Nazarene Universities on Oct. 15 and 17.