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The Headphone Challenge & G Mason and G Washington Previews
The Headphone Challenge & G Mason and G Washington Previews
Published by BeckysTXA
The Headphone Challenge & G Mason and G Washington Previews

Flyer volleyball hits the road for the next two weeks starting in the Washington DC area this weekend. Being a student-athlete at the Division I level can be a challenge, compounded when you have to go on the road and spend half the week away from campus. It’s not all business all the time on the road. Many trips include the team getting to visit historical sites and experience local-flavor at restaurants. It can be educational and provides opportunities to bond with your teammates forming memories that will last a lifetime...like the time the team engaged in the headphone challenge.

“One of the funniest stories (from the road) is when we were on the bus, on the way home from St. Louis (last year),” said sophomore Libero Maura Collins. “We did the headphone challenge, which is when you put headphones in and play a song at full-volume while singing it out loud. Most of our team chose to do it which was awesome. You have no idea how bad you really sound. It was really funny when a couple of our coaches decided to do it too.”

Maura wears the “colored jersey” for the team, picking up her first collegiate double-double last weekend against Rhode Island with 12 digs and 10 assists. On top of that, she rattled off 17 straight serves in one set last weekend, which would probably be a record if that stat was kept. Those 12 assists might be explained because she hasn’t always played Libero. At 5’6” tall, many might be surprised to learn Maura played outside hitter and setter in high school at Independence (OH) where she holds the career records in kills (1153) and digs (1147). She admits she doesn’t remember, but probably had some double-double matches in high school with kills and digs. She was a First-team All-Ohio selection her last two years in high school. She came in and contributed as a defensive specialist her freshman year before advancing to the Libero position this season. What’s amazing is she has only played Libero for about four years.

“I started playing club volleyball at age nine,” Maura said. “But, I was always in the gym with my dad and older sister before that. I started playing Libero for club when I was 16. Before that I was always a setter.”

In addition to Maura, UD brought in two additional defensive specialists last year. The group of Maura, Liz House and Carissa Beyers is probably the most talented group of back row defenders in one class ever at UD. They are young, but as a group, should be really good before they are done.

“It’s definitely a huge benefit to have strong passers and defenders all in the same class,” she said. “Carissa and House both bring steadiness to our back court. I love the relationships I have with each of them on the court. Some of the best moments are when it’s me, Carissa and House in the back row at the same time, and I know we’re about to defend and keep us in some rallies. They have the ability to go in at any position in the back row and stabilize us, which provides our team with some depth and versatility.”

There are a lot of factors that come into play that determines if a Libero will end up in the record books. Ironically, if you play on a great team, you tend to play less sets during a season, and therefore you have no opportunity to pile up large dig numbers in your career, to no fault of your own. All that aside, Maura will join the Flyer legacy set by former Liberos including Janna Krafta, Adrienne Green and Margo Wolfe.

“Being able to wear the Libero jersey in a program like Dayton, with such a history of talented athletes who wore the jersey is special,” Maura said. “Margo Wolfe definitely helped me acclimate to college volleyball. I was very lucky to play along side of Margo and learn from her for a year.”

Maura also singled out Associate Head Coach Alyssa D’Errico’s help. D’Errico played Libero in college at Penn State. She is the only DI athlete that has won four high school championships and four collegiate National Championships in volleyball. She also played professionally overseas several years after college.

“Our coaching staff has helped me greatly in my transition to the college game. Being coached by Alyssa D’Errico…has been such a special opportunity for me. I’m honored to join a legacy of such strong female athletes.”

@ George Mason, Friday October 11 @ 7 pm

The Patriots sit at the bottom of the A10 standings at 0-3 and it doesn’t get any easier for them anytime soon. They lost a 5-set match against George Washington in their first conference competition, but were swept by LaSalle and Duquesne last weekend. They are heading into the toughest part of the conference schedule starting with the Flyers on Friday.

Offensively, they have one hitter connecting at .280, but everyone else is lower than .206 and as a team their hitting percentage is a low .187. Defensively, they have four players digging more than 2/set, which is solid. The Flyers played against two great liberos last weekend and that will help us this week. The Patriots are one of three A10 teams with no ranked recruits. They do have an OH from Italy, but she has played less than 50% of the sets so far this season.

UD is working through some injuries to several hitters that has resulted in bench players stepping up in our first three conference matches.

“There are always injuries that create challenges and we have dealt with that this season,” Head Coach Tim Horsmon said. “We also have a lot af talented players in our program that work hard and have the ability to be on the court on the weekends. We of course would like to get a more consistent lineup soon, but it is always nice to have many options when it comes to players that can contribute.”

How quickly any of the hitters can come back will play a factor. Healthy, I expect UD to win this match in 3-sets, but Mason took a set off us last year at their place. All that might mean we drop a set, but we will win the war.

@ George Washington, Saturday October 12 @ 5 pm

The battle against George Washington (3-0 in the A19) will be much tougher. Along with Rhode Island, they have been one of the most surprising teams so far in the conference. Their win against LaSalle, on the road, in a sweep, was impressive. Making the biggest impact for them this season is 6’4” right side OH, grad-transfer Paty Valle. Valle is from Mexico and spent four years at TCU before graduating in the Fall of 2018 and joining the Colonials in Spring 2019. Valle is second on the team in points scored and they go to her often. From the right side, she will hit cross court, away from Maura, our best defender. VCU also has a good right side attacker, so it won’t be the last time we need to defend these attacks. The Flyers did contain Olivia Fairchild swinging from the right side last weekend. Since Valle has played more than 50% of GW’s sets, she is counted as their only ranked player on a team with an RPI around 150.

UD is currently a Top 75 RPI team. We have a bucket-load of more talent. But…we are injured in key spots. Injuries could play a big part in the out-come of this match. If we can get just one of our hitters back, 100% healthy for this match, we should dominate GW. If not, it could go five, but I expect UD to win. I’m pretty sure the team “flys” home this trip, so no headphone challenge this weekend. Just the opportunity to return to Dayton at 5-0 in the conference. Prepare. Play. Learn. All goals are still in play.
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By BeckysTXA on 10-11-2019, 12:01 PM
I’ve added a quote from Coach Horsmon on Friday, about the health of the team.
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