By Pat Zazzarino
KUTZTOWN, Pa. – With the flurry of fall sports racing with the beginning of the 2014 semester, it is a time of extreme stress to make sure that students and coaches alike are ready for the difficult season ahead. For the women’s volleyball team, that means cramming in as much training, strategy and commitment into these last few weeks before they open up against North Carolina on Sept. 5.
On the KU Bears’ website, there is a video posted showing the team during their preseason camp. The video is a great window for everyone to see what the team is capable of at this point. The sets looked crisp, the awareness of the ball was on point and the spikes looked just as lethal as ever.
Not too many freshmen join the squad this year. Six freshmen fill the roster in addition to the seven sophomores, three juniors and four seniors to lead the team. Head coach John Gump will once again take the reins and will be assisted by Cheryl Brattley as the assistant coach and Brian Szabo and Lindsey Smith will be the volunteer assistant coaches.
Despite the low number of freshmen, coach Gump is very excited about four new recruits in particular. The new Golden Bears include; McKenzie Fagan, Madisyn Kleinfelter, Cara Reilly and Carly Shortridge. Coach Gump commented on each girl, discussing not only their strengths, but also a bit on their personality, and how he believes that they can fit into the team.
The Golden Bears start the season in full-swing, opening against Ursuline for their first game, and West Virginia State later that day on Sept. 5 in Winston-Salem, N.C. The next couple of games are against a very competitive and difficult Winston-Salem State followed by Elizabeth City State later on in the day.
The girls had a struggling year in 2013, but not terrible. Their overall record was 14-19, and a conference record of 8-14. Humbling stats, but nothing to be overly concerned about. The girl’s biggest weaknesses were their errors (206 to their opponents 163).
KU was also behind in Points By Set (KU’s 2560 against opponents 2640). When it comes down to it, these stats don’t predict going anything into this season, but are merely reminders of what to work for during this season.
And at this rate, it is only a matter of time before we see a numbers that can reflect a powerful year.