September 19, 2008

Volleyball Searches for Victory at UConn

Print More

After opening the season with three straight losses in Kansas, the Red volleyball team is back on the road. The team returns to the court this weekend with another road stint at the UConn Toyota Classic at the UConn campus in Storrs, Conn. Over the weekend, the team will face tough competition in UConn, Temple and the University of Maine.
The Red opens the invitational with a match against host UConn, which just won its home opener against Fairfield in dominant fashion. The Red follows that match up with a game against Temple, which just defeated current Ivy League champion Princeton in a close contest. However, head coach Deitre Collins-Parker is confident that her team can make it interesting if it pushes itself.
“I think the level is just right for us,” Collins-Parker said. “[UConn] is a good team. If we want to win against any of these teams we’ve got to be at our best.”
Coming off three losses at the Kansas State tournament, the team is looking to shake up its lineup coming into this weekend’s invitational. Though the performance was stronger than the scorecard indicates, the Red didn’t mesh very well in Kansas.
“Last weekend, we definitely had a few bugs to work out, but I think going into this weekend we’re a little bit more set in our lineup and ready to play,” said junior libero Megan Mushovic.
Though the team is lead by veteran upperclassmen including Mushovic and senior captain Hillary Holland, the team is generally young. The Red added twelve freshmen to the lineup this season, invigorating the team with some fresh talent from all around the country. Freshmen Kelly Hansen has already proven to be a contender on offense, currently holding one of the top attack percentages on the squad.
“The upperclassmen definitely have a place on the floor. But the freshman have really been pushing the people in front of them, and one of them may even make it into the starting lineup,” Collins-Parker said. [img_assist|nid=31922|title=Watch and learn|desc=Junior Megan Mushovic and other veterans will lead the young Red.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
The team goes into the upcoming weekend excited and ambitious. Currently the Red has the worst record amongst the four teams attending the invitational, but is excited for its last weekend of the preseason away from Newman Arena before hosting its own invitational next Wednesday against Syracuse and Robert Morris University. Team members were still sitting in the coach’s office watching tape an hour before the road trip. The atmosphere was relaxed, and most everyone seemed ready to go out and get the first win of the season.
“I’m looking forward to some really good matchups, it’s definitely something that we can handle,” Mushovic said, “We really just need to play every point. We’ve been really working on that in practice and I think if we really push it we can contend this weekend.”
This weekend’s matchups may prove difficult as the team looks for a win. However these tough preseason matchups are preparing the team for Ivy League play, which begins September 27 against Columbia.
“We’re always looking to do well, that’s always the goal,” Collins-Parker said. This season is no different, if we want to win we’re going to have to shake ourselves up. We’ve got to continue working on our blocking defense, and really diversify our offense to win.”