Strap on the kneepads and put up the posts; volleyball season is officially underway.
Sam Houston State volleyball opened the season with a clean slate at the UTA Mavericks Classic. The team played a total of three games, and walked away from the tournament with a 1-2 overall record. The Kats will now travel to New Orleans, LA. this weekend to compete in the Tulane Green Wave Classic.
Although it is still really early in the season, assistant coach Charlie Olson likes what he is seeing from the team.
“I think we are playing pretty well as a group. It is still really early for us, but I think we are starting to do some things really well both offensively and defensively,” Olson said. “We looked very strong as a team this past weekend and it is always good when you have five experienced seniors on your roster and a full team that could come off the bench and compete.”
At the UTA Mavericks Classic, the Bearkats had trouble closing out. They went the five-set distance in each of their first two games, but would eventually fall 3-2. SHSU hopes to correct this issue before the upcoming volleyball tournament.
“I think right now we just need to get comfortable playing alongside one another and learn to finish games when we have the opportunity,” Olson said. “This past weekend we were actually up on our opponents, but we could not put it away. I think the biggest opportunity for us moving into this weekend is closing out teams when we do have the chance.”
Every member from last year’s squad has returned for another run at the Southland Conference championship. The Kats look to use this to their advantage throughout the season.
“Anytime that you can bring back a starting six and a full bench, there is no substitute for experience,” Olson said. “It is great having a full team come back, especially the starters that can buy into a system, buy into our end goal and just to continually get better point after point.”
The Bearkats are heading to Louisiana with the mindset of wanting to get better. Despite last weekend’s outing in Arlington, TX, the team has high expectations.
“We would love to walk away with an opportunity to get better. We also want to see improvements from this past weekend at UT Arlington,” Olson said. “We would love to walk away with three wins, giving that opportunity. However, we would like to walk away without any injuries.”
The Tulane Green Wave Classic can expect the same strategy from the Bearkats this weekend. Olson and the team plan on preparing the same way they always do.
“Our game plan is going to be the usual,” Olson said. “We want to serve tough enough so that the opponent cannot be in system. With our passing, we want to be in system and run our offense as best as possible.”
SHSU will hit the court against Bethune-Cookman on Friday at 4 p.m. before closing out the tournament on Saturday with a 10 a.m. match against UT-Rio Grande Valley and a 7 p.m. match versus Tulane.
“All of the opponents that we are playing this weekend are high quality opponents,” Olson said. “They should put up a pretty good challenge.”