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Next Up #5 GA Tech Tournament and More Next Woman Up Mode
Next Up #5 GA Tech Tournament and More Next Woman Up Mode
by Beckystxa
Published by BeckysTXA
Next Up #5 GA Tech Tournament and More Next Woman Up Mode

Going 2-1 this past weekend was highly impressive considering our depleted Outside Hitter ranks with only two of six players available. You need three in a normal rotation and so the Flyer’s patched together a line up and went to battle against three solid teams. It will be more of the same this weekend as they travel to #5 Georgia Tech to face the host team plus Arizona State and Florida International starting on Friday at Noon.

As reported in the Dayton Daily News, our most experienced OHs Lexie Almodovar and Louisville transfer Brooke Smith will not be available. But, freshman Mia Otten is back. Coach Horsmon and Assistant Coach Tim Balice provided some answers to the interview questions I sent up the line this week. They didn’t provide notations who answered what question, so I’m crediting both. First question was of course about the health of the players that were out this past weekend.

“We are evaluating things day-by-day and are hopeful that they’ll (outside hitters) be back in the near future,” they said. “In the meantime, everyone gets the opportunity to positively impact the team in new ways. We are hoping to have Lex and Brooke return in the next couple of weeks and Mia Otten has been cleared recently and has begun full practices.”

All things considered, I thought the team blocked pretty well this past weekend. Once we get our best OHs back, this should be a real strength. So just what are the coach's expectations for our block?

“Our expectations for our individual blockers and our overall blocking unit is really simple,” the coaches said. “They (each player) needs to consistently do their job. That job could be different for different plays and in different positions, with different players and different match ups,” they explained. “Specifically, our players need to execute on our scouting report and make in-match adjustments.”

Serving is another area fans are tuned into, especially service errors. So how do they prepare the team for this critical part of the game.

“Serving is a controllable skill that is played as much between the ears as it is on the endline. Our expectation is that we serve aggressively and in.” Fans would agree. But how do you prepare?

“We use measurements during practice such as miles per hour, amount of spin and efficiency – both efficiency of make or miss, but also hitting specific zones to find that balance for the weekend.”

There are six zones on a volleyball court, so this measurement is the ability to serve to a zone to target the player they want to exploit in serve receive.

Last year we had both Lexie and Jamie Peterson playing on the left OH pin and both played 6-rotations. This past weekend we used a L/DS as an OH, freshman Karissa Kaminski, so she could play 6-rotations. You have to have at least one OH go six. You want two so you don’t run out of your 15 substitutions during a set. Lexie will go six. But Karissa will not be playing OH when we are healthy. So who else can go six?

“That is a great question that will have different answers throughout the season,” they responded. “It is also a question that our player get to decide every day in practice.

“If there is a player that can attack, serve, pass, defend and block at a high level, regardless of ‘position’, we want them to be on the court more. But more often than not, players have strengths and areas of improvement in the aforementioned skills. It is our staff’s job to put the puzzle pieces together to win on the weekend, but also improve the players over the year.”

Our pre-conference matches are scheduled to give the team a chance to build their RPI in case we need an at-large bid. The staff put enough puzzle pieces together last weekend to not hurt this goal. Going 3-0 was there for the taking, but just as equally possible was 0-3 considering the players out and the puzzle pieces that ended up playing out of position. We get one puzzle piece back this weekend, Mia, with a full week to figure out what pieces play at what positions. That's better than what the team and staff dealt with last week. They will need the time because it's three more solid opponents. New game plans and scouting reports are set. But like the coaches said, expect in-match adjustments and every player will need to play at a consistent level to get back to Dayton with a winning record just like last weekend. We are still in ‘next woman up’ mode.
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