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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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By Chris R on 08-31-2022, 09:18 PM
Good intel. We will have to stay in damage control mode for a while longer. Not how you want the season to start off but you can either make the best of it and embrace the opportunities it gives other players, or you can feel sorry for yourself.
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By udisit19 on 09-01-2022, 11:11 AM
Thanks again Becky.

Horsman (or Balice) doesn't say much but we will take what we can get. I heard "Mia has been cleared..." and "full practice". Does that mean she will be in uniform and available during the game? I guess we will find out tomorrow. But so will Arizona St.

When Mia Otten is available, does Mia Otten play RS, allowing Grace Dynda to shift to the OH position? Dynda was serving and I did see her attack from the back row in the Cincy match. Grace seems like she fits the mold of a 6 rotation player. She has shown that she has all of the 5 tools mentioned by our coaches.

Fist match is Dayton vs. Arizona St. in about 26 hrs. ASU is 2-1 with wins over CSU Bakersfield and Northern Iowa (UNI), both at home in Tempe. UNI was picked to finish 6th in the MVC preseason coaches poll, with 1 first place vote. Illinois State was the consensus favorite to win the MVC with 5 first place votes. Based solely on those two results and not much else, Dayton is probably the slight favorite going into this match. I expect it to be another close match.

If you haven't checked out the Florida International Univ. roster yet it is worth a look. This is one of the most diverse, international rosters I have ever seen. Half of the players were not born in the USA and so many players are transfers from other schools. FIU is a team, given how little this collection of players has played matches together, they should get better the longer the season goes.
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By BeckysTXA on 09-01-2022, 12:38 PM
Agree…Mia being a freshman may not be ready to start in the rotation, and I have no idea how her back row skills are. But if hitters are being shut down, we have another option. I thought freshman Liana played well on the right pin. Not a lot of swings, but she had more blocks than the stats showed. She came in and immediately got 2 blocks with Amelia and then another with Layne. But stats only showed 2 for the match. Too early to tell if Mia was ahead of her before her injury.

I agree Grace is our best option, we’ve seen so far to go 6 rotations. She has played a serving and defensive specialist in previous seasons with a small amount of time hitting from both pins. You could try a line up of Taylor & Grace on the left with Liana or Mia on the right. You would put Karissa subbing with the right side hits, so you could have her play the front row again during a set if Grace struggles. I think that’s how you would pair up subs…but it gets confusing when you have so many players out of their natural position. Thank goodness the staff knows all the options like the back of their hand.

Finally, I noticed Anna did not wear a thigh wrap for either the KY or Cincy matches. But pictures from the ISU match show it on. I believe this has been a reoccurring injury since last in her freshman year. Anna goes down and I think you have to return Karissa to the back row. So it’s not just a front row issue. Karissa playing OH makes us weaker in the back too. It really is fitting the puzzle pieces together to get the best combination of available players on the court.

Also, FIU has had a diverse roster for some time. They must have some pipelines that are long standing.
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By BeckysTXA on 09-01-2022, 12:49 PM
Also…I send 4-5 questions in writing thru SID. It’s tough to do by phone with schedules. When you have a conversation interview you can ask follow up questions. I don’t have that opportunity. So if I had known ahead of time Mia was back…I could have asked follow ups to her impact this weekend. It’s what “we” give up in this format, but we get more than we lose. Not stating this for any other reason then it explains why questions weren’t asked. It’s been a reoccurring situation since I started this a couple years ago, but I think it would cut back to about a third of quotes if I tried to do a phone interview. It gets complex. We take what we can get and are grateful for that.

And really this is Chris’ fault. If he could just get this website into prime time, all the coaches at UD would move us to the top of their priority list. (Kidding of course.) And I will say I believe the DDN article yesterday was a direct result of the reporter reading this website. I have a feeling they would have not realized the OH shortage without the fans posting. So we contribute in many ways.
Last edited by BeckysTXA; 09-01-2022 at 03:35 PM..
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By Chris R on 09-01-2022, 03:06 PM
We are just peons in the metaverse!
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