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-   -   Volleyball Flyby: It’s a Totally Different Team (http://www.udpride.com/forums/showthread.php?t=36892)

BeckysTXA 08-31-2023 11:58 AM

Volleyball Flyby: It’s a Totally Different Team
Editorial Note: I’m planning to do a weekly touch-base with the volleyball coaching staff by sending over five questions each Monday of the season. And right away there is one exception. It’s next week when they have a mid-week match with #3 Louisville on Wednesday. The coaches need to use their time to prepare the team, not entertain a media request. We can wait a week, and I’ll send a couple extra questions the next Monday. I email the questions in and the responses come back in writing. It’s not a perfect system. There is no opportunity to do a follow up question to any answers. But, we do get to hear from the coaching staff on a regular basis throughout the season. So enjoy.

The Flyers wasted no time hitting the ground running out of the gate in the opening weekend of the 2023 season. And true to Flyer tradition, they scheduled tough, hosting a tournament that included #12 Marquette, #24 Western Kentucky and Drake who came in and played lights-out. They are probably the best 0-3 team in the country and will give UNI a run for their money in the Valley Conference. The Flyers finished the weekend 2-1.

Dayton played one of the finest matches ever by sweeping #24 WKY on Friday night, beat Drake in five sets and came within two points of knocking off #12 Marquette in five sets. Compare that to recent years when the team has struggled early on in a season, and last year struggled all season as it was a weekly revolving door with injuries sidelining rotation players up until the last couple weeks. The team could not find consistency or cohesion but did pull it together to make the Championship match. They played their best at the end but came up short to make the NCAA Tournament. So it was critical they start this year even better than where they ended last year. And, that’s exactly what they did.

“Things (the health of the team) are good and we’re obviously in a much better place than we were last year,” Head Coach Tim Horsmon reported. “We have a competitive team and depth which has been a real positive for us.”

Horsmon credits the health of the team as a key component in their success this past weekend and the hard work in the off-season. But, he knows there is a long way to go.

“Health for sure. Not to make any excuses, but I think last season was an outlier and of course (we are) just one weekend in and lots of work to do,” he stated. “We worked really hard this past Spring and were very intentional in what we needed to work on.”

Two players that made the most of their off-season work are sophomore MB/RS Liana Sarkissian and Junior Setter Alyssa Miller.

“Liana had a great Spring and Summer and has put herself in a position both as a middle and opposite to help us win matches. She is strong, a great athlete and a fun athlete to coach,” he said.

There was a press article about Liana about two years ago, after she committed to UD. It said during COVID, when there was no prep volleyball, she and her dad worked out in their basement improving her weight training and strength. It’s clearly paid off and a great example of her work ethic. Our setter has also been working hard to improve.

“Alyssa is a different setter and player than where she was this time last year,” declared her head coach. “She has worked hard and is really confident in setting our offense and playing the game. She had a great Spring and is a tremendous athlete, but her skill has improved tenfold.”

The Flyer Faithful also saw an improved block by this team. Coming out of three matches against some of the top teams in the country, we are averaging 2.62 blocks per set. So I wanted to know if Horsmon thought this team could get to 3 blocks per set.

“That would be a great number to block and not easy, but we will keep getting better at it.”

He credited his current and former blocking coaches for the improvement so far, new Assistant Coach Christa Cooper and former Associate Head Coach Alyssa D’Errico who put in the Spring work with the team.

“Christa has continued the work that Alyssa started and has put a great system in place for us. I think she has communicated expectations and communicates and teaches this system at a really high level.”

Cooper played Right-side in college at Michigan Tech. Her senior year she helped her team lead the nation in blocking. It’s three matches into a long season, but it appears our block is in very good hands.

However, nobody will be happy if that match with WKY is the high point of the season. So how does the team get better?

“We just have to do the little things a bit better,” explained Horsmon. “And consistency is always the key ingredient to being great. We need to show we can do this (play at the high level shown against WKY) in practice every day as well as during every point in a match. We figure this out and we will make things much easier on ourselves moving forward.”

Next opportunity to show what they can do will be on Hausfeld Court at the Frericks Center this weekend. Friday, 7 pm against North Dakota St and two matches on Saturday - 1 pm against Butler and 7 pm against Ohio. And in case you missed it, the Word-of-the-Day for both Friday and Saturday is “Consistency”.

Chris R 08-31-2023 12:54 PM


keats '91 08-31-2023 01:23 PM

Very nice.

I failed to mention in earlier comments the additions to coaching staff. Really like the energy from both, Christa Cooper and Kaylee Thomas. Was very entertaining to watch their interaction between plays and at timeouts. I have not found the social media interaction that Alyssa D’Errico brought (maybe that's a me thing...). Looks like good chemistry within coaching staff.

Which leads to the other chemistry. First weekend, team chemistry looked good. But also watching to see who develops as team leader(s). Lexi and Karissa seem to be the first ones to 'bump up' the others after a good play. Was also very fun watching team mate interaction during time outs during the tight 5 setters last weekend.

This team has good vibes... but the pieces need to continue to fall into place...

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