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Drilling Down on Getting Better
Drilling Down on Getting Better
Published by BeckysTXA
10-21-2019
Drilling Down on Getting Better

Flyer volleyball is preparing to host George Washington and George Mason for the second time in two weeks, finishing a four-week stretch of playing some of the weaker A10 teams twice each, two weeks apart. This has been an opportunity for the team to work on and improve different parts of the game. Figstats Volleyball RPI lists George Washington at 131 and the other three teams well into the 200’s. UD has only lost one set so far in this stretch with one week to go. Clearly the team has had no problem playing well above these teams. But improvement for a team begins at the individual level. It should also be noted throughout this stretch the team has had several front row players out with injuries or at less than 100%. UDPride caught up with redshirt freshman middle blocker Amelia Moore late last week to find out what improvements she wanted to accomplish in her game to help the team.

The first thing to know about Amelia is she took a medical redshirt year in 2018 and has missed a couple matches recently due to a concussion. She has worn a padded head band in matches as a precaution.

“Last year, I broke my foot during a practice,” Amelia said. “The healing process forced me to miss too many games. My coaches, family and I all agreed that it would be best to medically redshirt. (This year) the head injury was a concussion due to getting hit in the head during a match. Due to protocol, I was unable to play in the matches versus Rhode Island and Fordham (two weeks ago) until all symptoms were gone. Due to it only being a ‘less-severe’ concussion, I was cleared to play before the George Washington and George Mason matches.”

Amelia also played in both matches this past weekend. And the last four matches have been some of her best all season. Amelia’s contributions to the team are basically in three areas as a middle blocker. Those include hitting, blocking and sometimes serving. She has been working to improve all three areas.

“I’m working to have more range as an attacker (hitter) and to be available at all times,” she said.

Breaking this down, more range as an attacker means to be able to hit more types of shots into more areas of the court off of different sets. To be available at all times addresses the transition part of the game that hitters have to perform. This is transitioning between defense and offense. Usually a MB participates in almost all blocks. They have to cover the most “real estate” along the net, closing out blocks on both the left and right sides with the outside hitters. Once they come down off a block attempt, hitters have to run back to around the 10-foot line and prepare for their run (approach) to attack the ball if they get the set. If they don’t get transitioned between the block and ready for an attack, they are not available to the setter as an offensive option. Additionally, the defense on the other side of the net “sees” this and can move defensively to another hitter to set their block and back row defense to dig an attack. So it’s important for all hitters to ‘be available’.

In her blocking game, Amelia said, “I am going to focus on being pressed and finished every block.”

Pressed means extending the arms and hands over the net to stop attacks before they cross the net. This also makes it more difficult for a hitter to ‘tool” the block. Finished means to have the hands turned slightly towards the center of the court so if balls do make contact and fall on the attacker’s side of the net, they land in the court, not travel out of bounds.

And in her serving game, “I am focused on consistency,” she said. “I’ll be focusing more on the process instead of going back for an ace.”

In all three areas, Amelia’s improved her performance over the last four matches. These have all been sweeps by the Flyers, so a total of 12 sets were played. They represent 19% of the total sets Amelia has played this season. Breaking down the numbers, her performances have been great in the last four matches:

30 kills – 29% of her season total. She has been ‘available’ to the setters as an attacker.
15 blocks – 24% of her season total. Her work to press and finish blocks appears to be improving.
3 service aces – 50% of her season total. Although her ‘goal’ isn’t an ace, her ‘focus’ from the service line is improving.
41.5 points – 29% of her total points for the season.

In the last four matches (19% of her sets played this season), Amelia has exceeded her season averages in all three areas. This is supported by other stats.

Season average hitting percentage = .260. Last 4 matches = .455. Almost .200 points better.
Season blocks/set = 1.0/set. Last 4 matches = 1.25/set.
Season points/set = 2.3/set. Last 4 matches = 3.5/set.
Season service errors/set = .34/set. Last 4 matches = .25/set. Another stat supporting improved focus at the serving line.

You have to acknowledge the competition hasn’t been anywhere near what this team will go up against in the NCAA tournament or during the non-conference portion of the schedule. However, you also can’t ignore that individual players on this team are working on their contributions to make the team better and in several cases they are working though injuries without being able to practice and play in matches. Amelia is one of those players. The dedication of these student athletes is awe-inspiring while they deal with the frustration of injuries and the demands off the court academically. In her second year at Dayton, Amelia has experienced the entire spectrum of those challenges, but she is grateful for her decision to play volleyball at UD.

“My absolute favorite thing about campus is being able to see an old face and new face every turn,” she said. “The community aspect of Dayton is amazing and everyone is very friendly. Also, the campus is beyond beautiful! I love to watch the sun set, so every now and then I go up to the top of Stuart Field. It’s the perfect view of the entire campus.”

The Flyers face off against George Washington at 7 pm on Friday, October 25th and George Mason at 1 pm on Sunday, October 27th. Both should be sweeps for the team as individual players continue to work hard at improving their contributions. The upper deck at the Frerricks Center is the perfect view of how the hard work is paying off for individual players and the team. Prepare. Play. Learn. All goals are still in play.
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