Last season the Women’s Volleyball Team lost in the conference finals to SUNY Cortland 3-1. This season, defeat won’t hold them back. For some players the loss will provide motivation for the coming season.
Head Coach Matt Giufre has high expectations for his team and said he is looking forward to this season. He has 10 returning players who “have greatly improved” since last season and six new athletes. According to Giufre, this is invaluable because he is now able to sub out tired players during particularly long and grueling games.
Co-Captain Tara Annunziata, a returning player, said the team’s biggest and most unique attribute is that “we gel as a team.”
Marissa King, a second-year student and one of the team’s key setters, also spoke of this closeness between teammates and is very excited about this season. She said she is confident in the team as a whole.
Both Annunziata and King agree that team chemistry is what sets the Lady Hawks apart from the competition–a bond between teammates which can only be compared to the closeness of a nuclear family. Annunziata, Guifre and King are very confident about this season, but know that improvements can be made.
This past weekend the team travelled to the Molten Volleyball Pikes Peak Challenge at Colorado College and left with only one win out of three games. The results must have tarnished the hopeful outlook the team had. However, it is too early in the season to tell if this will be the trend, and as Giufre pointed out, the challenge hosted some formidable teams.
Giufre said this defeat may have come at a very opportune time in that the team has time to adjust and reflect on what to improve on. He thinks these improvements should include both offense and defense, blocking in particular.
Hard and diligent practices that focus on setting, spiking, blocking and muscle toning in the weight room are the keys to secure future wins, Giufre said.
Volleyball fundamentals seem to be Giufre’s main concern at the start of this season and everyone is willing to adamantly work toward perfecting the basics. The team’s motivation comes from their commitment to improving and honing their playing skills to become an all-around better team.
High hopes from the dedicated team and coach promise a bright season for Lady Hawks Volleyball as they move toward their goal of conference title glory.
“Nobody expected us to make it to the conference finals,” said Annunziata.
The team seems ready to exceed expectations this year and show their competitors how much they have improved since last year by becoming the new SUNYAC Championship Title owners.