Digging into the off-season

Lauren Roberts

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Michelle Blount, senior in mechanical engineering, looks to block Hunter Porter, junior in mass communication, spike during the alumni game at D.L. Ligon Coliseum Saturday afternoon. Photo by Lauren Roberts

Michelle Blount, senior in mechanical engineering, looks to block Hunter Porter, junior in mass communication, spike during the alumni game at D.L. Ligon Coliseum Saturday afternoon. Photo by Lauren Roberts

The volleyball team hosted its Spring Fling Tournament on Saturday, April 5 in D.L. Ligon Coliseum. Seven teams competed in 14 matches at the tournament. The team played four matches with their final match against MSU volleyball alumni.

MSU ended the 2013 season with a Lone Star Conference record of 7-9 and a overall record of 17-13.

Venera Flores, head volleyball coach, said, “The spring is about getting better and that’s what we need. We don’t have enough to play six-on-six so we look forward to the weekend so we can play competition other than ourselves”

The tournaments are needed in the offseason so the team can focus in on skills that need work.

“Right now it’s just seeing if they are improving on the fundamentals of what we’re trying to do. Whether it’s arm swing or defense, just making sure they are in the right positions. Are they talking, just the little stuff that you can’t really focus on in the fall as you can in the spring,” Flores said. “It’s really just getting better. The middles work on footwork and their arm swings. The outsides are working on defense and their arm swings. The defenders were all working on serve/receive.”

Half the players from the 2013 season are returning next year, and the small group during the offseason has its positives.

Flores said, “It’s way easier in the offseason because we’re a smaller group. It’s hard for 18 kids to get together but nine is quite easier.”

The small group also allows the players to get to know each other and trust each other more.

Kaitlyn Molloy, junior in exercise physiology, said, “This is the most cohesive team I’ve ever been on before. When I first got here I couldn’t believe the talent that we had with 18 girls. We just clicked for the most part, you know. We’re girls of course. But still, now we are down to nine and we’re still just a close group of girls. We’re just trying to find our rhythm on the court.”

Flores expects nine recruits to join the team. Volleyball signing day has not come yet and the actual number may change.

Molloy is going into her second season at MSU and was one of the new students last year.

Molley said, “There were a lot of girls coming in at one time last year and it’s going to happen again this year. Our goal is to have those that are here now to have a strong bond so when the new girls come in they can feel comfortable. So they can be like ‘this is a great group of girls, they’re strong, work well together’ and we can have them feel more comfortable and maybe have a better start with us.”

The volleyball team is young and with five seniors leaving this year it is getting younger. Flores said the team is good. She sees the upswing and is looking forward to next season. Returning next year are two seniors and two juniors.

“I’m trying to win conference championships. That’s what I want and that’s what I expect from them,” Flores said. “We want to be competing at practice and we want to be competing in the games. It’s about getting better and the only way to do it is pushing yourself. That’s what we try to get each position at least three deep that they can do that.”

With a talented but young team the players want to go further and are working this offseason to improve on their record.

“We are all smart about the game and these girls are very athletic, very volleyball knowledgeable. I think it it was maybe more mentally. We weren’t mentally tough enough to push through because we have the athleticism but that’s something we have been working on,” Molloy said. “It’s funny because sometimes you’ll watch us play and it’s like ‘oh there’s MSU’ and then another game you’re like ‘is this the same team that just played an hour ago?’ We have our moments I think we just need to find consistency.”

 

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