Team hopes killer season to dig its way up from current stats

Third-year head volleyball Coach Kecia Davis attributes the volleyball team’s rough start this season to inexperience.

“We’ve got a lot of young players,” Davis said. “We only have four players returning from last year, one senior, a junior and two sophomores. So we’re very young, and we’re still trying to kind of get that chemistry working.”

Coach Davis is a 1986 graduate of UMHB and played volleyaball and basketball while she attended school here. When on the volleyball team, she won an MVP award.

The volleyball team has had a rocky start this season with only two wins and 11 losses in overall play.

“Our expectations for the season are just for the team to learn some chemistry and especially for the freshmen to transition into collegiate sports,” Davis said. “We’re basically trying to get them together as a team and on the same page, at the same time. They’re working hard on the court and in the weight room, and if each day we have some improvements that’s good enough for me.”

UMHB is in the eastern division of the American Southwest Conference. With conference play having already begun last week, the Crusader’s playoff hopes are still very much alive. Though the team’s win/loss record is not the strongest, Davis says the team still may have a chance to make the conference tournament.

“In our conference we were picked third.” she said. “The way things work for volleyball is we have an east division with six teams and a west division with seven teams. The top three in each division go to the conference tournament. So we’re just trying to get our foot in the door and get that third spot so as to see what we can do in the tournament.”

Players also kept a positive outlook of the upcoming challenge facing the team.

“I think the season will improve greatly once we start getting a little more comfortable with one another and picking up our pace,” sophomore management major and team co-captain Erin Maenius said. “We’re adapting to a whole new team. I think a big thing is just getting to know and getting used to everyone on the court together. Once everyone starts meshing well, I think we’ll start seeing a lot more wins in conference.”

Maenius was not the only player who remained upbeat about the season.

“I think the best thing we can do is just to keep everyone pumped up,” freshman exercise and sports science major Kelsey Gangl said. “During the middle of the game, we start to get down, and it seems like we can’t get our energy back. So I think if we stay focused and excited, we’ll play at our full potential.”

Marketing major and co-captain of the team, Kayla Skrobarczyk, is the only senior on the team. She commented on the young team’s progress in comparison to previous years.

“I transferred from a junior college, so my first year was last year. Playing at a junior college was a lot faster but not as technical,” Skrobarczyk said. “But I think the main difference in this year and last year is stamina. We were further ahead last year than we are this year, but then at the start of conference play, the team broke down.

“This year, even though this team has started off slow, I feel like we’ve built up to this point, and we’ll continue to keep that pace and finish off strong.”

All the girls respect Coach Davis for sticking with them and doing her best to help them.
“Coach Davis really does a good job of trying to perfect our fundamentals and technique to help prevent us from injuries in the long run,” Skrobarczyk said.

Both players and coaches are strongly encouraging students and fans to continue to attend games in order to support the team.

“Just keep coming out to support us,” Skrobarczyk said. “It definitely helped out last game. Just hearing fans supporting us and knowing that if we make a mistake, they’re right there to cheer us on. I think that’s great.”

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