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-   -   Final A10 Weekend (http://www.udpride.com/forums/showthread.php?t=24017)

UDBrian 11-12-2013 04:53 PM

Final A10 Weekend
This will be the Volleyball team's final weekend of A10 regular season play. After this weekend the Flyers will be playing in the A10 tournament and have a final match at home against Bowling Green. The hope is that the Flyers will be playing Bowling Green as an NCAA tuneup. But, for that to happen the Flyers have a lot of work to do.

The Flyers dominated at home against LaSalle in their only match last weekend.

The previous weekend the Flyers beat George Mason in straight sets but lost to George Washington in four sets. The Flyers play George Washington this weekend in what I consider to be a big match. The Flyers need to begin building momentum for the A10 tournament and want to beat George Mason on Friday and George Washington on Sunday.

The first goal for the Flyers is to be healthy. Injuries have caused lineup shuffles so I asked Matt about the health of the team.

"Overall, I think we are starting to get healthy and back to where we were to start the season. There are still some nagging injuries that we will battle through for the rest of the year, but I feel really good about where our team is headed health-wise. Alaina played in the back row this weekend and I thought she brought some solid energy. We are going to see how she is progressing in the front row and look at where we want to be come A-10 Tournament time".

One of the beneficiaries of the lineup shuffles has been Angel Agu who has received a lot of playing time. So what impressions has Angel made on Matt?

"Angel has done a solid job this year as both a MH and RS. She is not a two-foot high ball attacker based on her training in high school/club, but she has worked hard to learn how to be an option on the back set. She has also done some really good things as a RS blocker. She is a great athlete who has broad shoulders and can take up good space with her block. You see glimpses of a big-time attacker/blocker, and Angel is working hard to speed up her arm swing and also learn more about the intricacies of both positions".

The Flyers have been a top 10 blocking team for most of the season. But, at times it has been feast or famine defensively. If the block is in place they are spectacular but have had trouble defensively when the blocking isn't real good. I have not played behind a swing block. I was taught to read the block and the hitter. Move just to the side of the block where the hitter is most likely able to hit the ball with power. That would appear to be much more difficult to read with a swing block which closes at the last instant so I asked Matt about the difference.

"Our general philosophy is to have small, if any, movements by our back row in an effort to see the shot, then dig the shot (just like the block - see the set, block the set). We believe we can take away certain areas with the block, thus we don't want our back row defenders moving around a lot or thinking they have to move a great distance into an area. I think it is important for all 6 players to see the hitter and read where they are going and what they are doing with their shots".

I have played with some great back row players and they can read the hitter's hand position to read where the ball will be hit. Becoming great at reading that is an art form.

The Flyers are expected to handle George Mason on Friday but Sunday's match is big because the Flyers lost to George Washington in four sets two weeks ago. Following the match Matt discusses the Flyers hitting percentages from the middle hitters and his disappointment so I asked him what he expected from a UD middle hitter.

"For us to be successful we need our MH hitting above .300 with around 50% kill percentage and less than 10% error percentage. As for improvements, I think better shot selection and execution would help us produce more. We are always working on our connections with the setter, as well as our spacing/timing on our swings".

In the previous match against George Washington the Flyers hit .000 in set 1 and .097 in set 2. They improved quite a bit in sets 3 and 4 but it is tough spotting a team 2-0 on the road. I asked Matt what caused the difference in hitting percentages.

"A good deal of our struggles vs. GWU were caused by the first contact. We were not able to generate good tempo offense as we were taking a lot of high-ball out of system swings. When we did get the passes, our shots were not consistently going into the areas we had targeted in scouting".

Good luck to the Flyers this weekend. I expect to be at Sunday's match.

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