In her senior season, Sydney O’Shaughnessy knows this is her last chance at a Summit League run with the Mavericks.
“The driving factor [this season] is ending on the highest note possible.”
Led by the senior setter, the Mavericks were picked to finish fifth in the preseason coaches’ poll last week. For O’Shaughnessy, her senior year is a chance to offer support and create a family environment.
“I think it’s that family aspect that keeps everyone going in a pretty good direction,” she says.
Where O’Shaughnessy will bring support, a new face on the bench will undoubtedly bring winning experience. Former Nebraska All-American and professional Gina Mancuso will be a volunteer assistant coach this season.
With Mancuso’s winning experience, Coach Shires hopes the Mavericks can finish in the top third of their conference this season. With a schedule that will be Omaha’s toughest schedule since joining Division I, she says the team is striving for a winning record.
“We want to push to finish with a winning record, and I think we can do that,” she said.
Last year, Omaha finished with an 8-22 record, including going 5-11 in Summit League play.
The Mavericks also dropped their first four games of the season last year, and were 2-9 away from Baxter Arena. Getting off to a good start is something that coach Shires has said that she wants to do this season.
Their first chance at proving to the doubters that they are serious contenders in the Summit League will be in Ames, Iowa for the Iowa State Challenge. The New Mexico Lobos will be the first foe for Omaha on Aug. 25, followed by Iowa State and Kent State the following day.
“I’m very excited for what this team can do, the work they’ve put in during the summer, and where they are at right now,” Shires said.