Long laundry list of strengths
by Natalie Droeske
The women’s volleyball team returns for the fall 2018 season with a refreshed mentality and a laundry-list of strengths that will make for a dynamic upcoming season.
Having lost only two seniors to graduation, the roster looks familiar, but head coach Jenna Ness says this isn’t the same group of athletes:
“In our nontraditional season, they worked hard. They wanted to get better, and we implemented some different things that were a little bit unique to our team and created some versatility with options. They bought into it which is key, which is why we got better this off-season.”
Sitting at 9-4 at press time, the Loras women’s volleyball team has surged to a great start to their fall 2018 season. They went 4-0 in their season-opening tournament at the Forester Invitational in Lake Forest, IL, before going 3-1 in their next four matches at the Loras Invitational.
“We have a lot of athletes from the Chicago area, so we had a really strong family fan base [for the Forester Invitational],” said Ness. “There’s always a lot of unknowns in the first couple weeks… [but] it was really fun in Lake Forest.”
The mental aspect of volleyball is extremely important, so the non-physical components of the game are high on the list of strengths for this team. “We’ve had our best start in 10 years, but I think it’s because they’re having fun together,” said Ness. “This group connects and figures it out… they want to do it for each other.”
With six seniors on the roster, four of whom have been in the program throughout their college career, this group has had a lot of experience.
“This group is hungry, they want to grow as leaders. They have taken ownership of their actions and of others’ actions, and have kept each other accountable,” said Ness. “This team has felt what it was like to lose, and they didn’t like it.”
The women were 7-0 until they lost to No. 9 ranked Gustavus Adolphus. This past week, the Duhawks fell to Cornell 3-1, but triumphed over Webster 3-2 before falling to Augustana and Alma 3-2 and 3-0, respectively, thus completing their trip to Rock Island, IL.
“Sometimes people have off games, sometimes teams have off games,” said Ness. “We needed to work harder… we didn’t execute when we needed to execute, but we’ve learned from that.”
The women will next take on St. Benedict in Decorah, Iowa on Saturday, Sept. 22 at noon.