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Moving Toward Crunch Time
Moving Toward Crunch Time
Published by UDBrian
Moving Toward Crunch Time

The volleyball team has six matches remaining prior to the A10 playoffs. Since Alaina injured her shoulder the team has been experimenting with various lineups. It is probably about time to decide on the best lineup and begin maximizing the possibilities.

The recent lineup experimentation was caused by injuries to Alaina and other Flyers so Matt gave me an update.

"Lauren Gresham is now 100% and her knee feels as good as it has in a few years. She will continue to work on getting stronger. Alaina is now swinging again and doing some upper body action, but we want to be sure she is ready to go. Alyssa Beach is nursing a possible stress fracture and is trying to get some answers on that. We also have a few others who are dealing with some injuries that we are trying to stay pro-active about with our training/rehab".

Last week's lineup had Megan and Isolde in the middle, Shayne and Jill on the left outside and Angel on the right side. That team appeared to play well beating Fordham 3-0 and avenging a loss the previous weekend to Rhode Island. The Flyers outhit Rhode Island .254 to .126. So I asked Matt for his thoughts on how that lineup played.

Beckystxa has provided analysis on the Flyers finishing somewhere between 2nd and 5th at this link http://www.udpride.com/forums/showth...785#post320785.

Obviously the best scenario is for UD to finish 2nd for the conference season which would set up a finals match with VCU if both teams win. You always want to play as well as possible but the worse case scenario (other than not makng the tournament) is for UD to play VCU the third night in the finals. I think that VCU is the team that UD needs to beat (on paper and based upon losses to VCU) for an ncaa tournament bid although Duquesne has been playing really really well. Playing VCU the third day might be more difficult from a fatigue standpoint.

I asked Matt about how they go about analyzing the team's improvement and different lineups to maximize the team both offensively and defensively.

"I think we are starting to gain some momentum. We are seeing stronger defensive play in the back row, and our hitting efficiency and errors are going the way we would like. I also think the mentality of our servers is very good right now".

"We can compare the hitting statistics for the players who are on the RS, as well as look at how many positive touches and good defensive play we are getting. I don't see us considering any changes to the outside until Alaina is healthy. We have three solid middles and just need to determine what is best for the MH/RS".

When you reach this point in the season and begin striving for ncaa tournament success leadership is important. We have lost a lot of tremendous players leadership in the past two seasons so I asked Matt about the leadership of his current seniors.

"I think Shayne is the voice of the team and someone players look to for guidance. I think Ally is a player who can motivate and inspire with her experiences/words/intensity. Megan is someone who can lead by example, but also build up and encourage the team with what we are doing well and/or what we need to change".

Every match is important at this point of the season and tonight's is big for several reasons. You want to win and improve you place in the standings and you also want to show other teams you are superior if you play them in the A10 tournament. Duquesne has beaten Rhode Island and St Louis in the last month. Winning tonight would give the Flyers a confidence boost and also send a message to Duquesne and other tournament teams.
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