A fresh outlook for a new season

Season preview for developing Gaels

Women’s volleyball playing at home for the Queen’s Invitational exhibition tournament .
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Competing in two exhibition tournaments in the past two weeks, the women’s volleyball team might not have gotten the results they wanted on the scoreboard, but they’re picking up some valuable experience on the court.

Through eight exhibition games the team has only managed one win — this weekend against the University of New Brunswick — but overall the team seemed happy with their performance. For veteran outside hitter Caroline Livingston, the team is just learning to grow together. 

“I feel like we’re starting to find our identity. It may not be the result we were looking for in terms of wins and losses, but definitely in terms of experience,” she said.

Their roster this season includes twice as many rookies as veterans. 10 of the 15 players are in their first year of eligibility and none of the team has more than three years of experience. 

On the surface, this seems like a red flag for any team with their sights on first place, however Head Coach Michael Ling had a more optimistic view.

“With fresh faces comes fresh outlooks, so it’s going to take some development for sure,” he said.

He too stressed the importance of growth this year, referring to the past tournaments as “building blocks”.

Without a team captain selected, from a spectators point-of-view, this team might seem like it’s in a dangerous position, but players both Livingston and Coach Ling were adamant that the undecided captaincy had no negative bearing on the girls. 

“There’s a strong core of the three third years that have really taken the reins of the team,” coach Ling said.

With regards to the captaincy, Livingston believes that it’s everyone’s job on the team to step up and be a leader in their own way.

Several rookies played their part during this past weekend’s games, including Danika Ahac — who worked nonstop both on offence and defense throughout Sunday’s match, accumulating 16 digs and five kills, helping the Gaels win the second set by a score of 25-17.

While Ling said a captain will eventually be named, he hoped the lack of one this early in the season would drive the young players to “emerge as leaders”, noting that his mentality is that “a hierarchy of years of eligibility” doesn’t exist on the team.

Moving forward from this weekend, Coach Ling said there were a lot of takeaway lessons.

“We can certainly play with the best teams, but one of the things we need to minimize is our outright errors, our unforced errors”. 

The women’s team is heading to the McGill Invitational over Homecoming weekend to build on what they’ve learned thus far. 

The team’s regular season opens at home, in the Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC) on Oct. 29 against Trent.

 

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