UNO Volleyball players continue to grow as experience mounts


By Joe Gabbert, Contributor

One of the stand out features of this year’s Maverick Volleyball team is youth.  All but two of the team’s 13 players are sophomore or freshman. So as expected most of the season will be devoted to development. Coach Rose Shires said that the previous week’s event at the Houston Baptist tournament was a good experience for the team
“The Houston Baptist tournament; the weekend and the trip and everything was very good for us as a volleyball program. I really liked how we came out on Friday night,” Shires said. “We immediately attacked the game and we played very aggressive. We played the style we’re trying to create in our program. We were nonstop aggressive in how we approached our match and we really tried to come after them and not wait to see what they would do to us.”
    She added that aggression isn’t exactly something one can teach.
“You can’t coach that. That’s what players are made of. It’s their internal culture. For us to be competitive we have to have that and they have to allow that to show day in and day out.”
Players Kimberly Bailey and Kelley Wollak both agreed that their youth is becoming less of a factor every game and they’re making clear improvements.  
“I think [youth is becoming less important]. We’re very used to playing with each other,” Wollak said. “After a year now of kind of feeling each other out and understanding how we play on a court, even though people say we’re a young team and the stats say we’re a young team, we don’t feel inexperienced.”    
Everyone also seemed to have a positive attitude and a drive to win and improve.
Both Bailey and Wollak also mentioned that they look to push the team towards a .500 record at least before the end of the year. Shire also elaborated on where the improvement will likely come from.
“One thing that we’re trying to put time in on practice [is blocking], so that they become good blockers faster. That’s the biggest difference between the high school and college game. The hitting – I think you’re going to hit in highs school, but now it’s hitting around bigger blockers. So you clean that up a little but really the biggest difference is blocking.” Shires said.
Wollak added, “We work on blocking almost every single day. Karen Povondra, our associate head coach, is all about blocking and loves to teach it and she has done a really great job with us teaching us and really giving us a mindset of what a collegiate blocker needs to be”
Some of that blocking was on display on Saturday night against a the 5-1 Bradley Braves. The team had a total of 11 blocks in what was mostly a close defeat despite the three to one set score for the Braves.
Most people agree that the team is already seeing quick improvement, and despite the 1-5 start the future looks promising. Wollak already sees improvements.
 “I think we have especially from the beginning of the preseason.  We’ve made strides and will continue to make strides throughout the season”