Preseason began for the University of Indianapolis volleyball team with two-a-day practices on Aug. 14. This year during preseason camp the team will be working on individual skills specific to their position during the morning practice and bringing it all together in the afternoon, much like they would do in the spring. According to Head Volleyball Coach Jason Reed, the Hounds will be working on serving, passing and defense during preseason.
“In terms of strictly volleyball stuff, early in the season, defense is going to be the biggest thing that we’re going to be working on,” Reed said. “Since it’s early in the year, the rest of the stuff kind of comes along but those are the things that really make a difference in your early season record.”
This year, the team has eight returning members and nine incoming, including both freshmen and transfer students. Junior middle blocker Katie Voelz said a big part of practice will be learning how to work together as a team, especially with so many incoming players.
“Practice is just kind of learning how to mesh with each other and trust each other,” Voelz said. “I mean basically, for volleyball especially, the girls on your team are your family. So that’s adding nine new people to your family. So it’s just kind of getting to know each other, working hard together, getting through hard drills together. That’s what’s really going to make us come together as a team.”
Some of the transfer students this year are from Saint Joseph’s College, which Reed is looking forward to. He said he plans to draw upon their experience in the GLVC while also working to help them adjust to a new team dynamic.
“Their adjustment will come with how we do thing versus how they have done things in the past. And on the same token, they’re going to bring some good and unique things from Saint Joe and their experience to our gym,” Reed said. “I’m really looking forward to having those girls, as well as Autumn [Mayo] from Armstrong [State University] in the gym and teaching them the way we do volleyball here and hearing some of the things that they do and maybe using some of those things for us too.”
According to Voelz, the transition from high school to college volleyball can be difficult, especially when factoring in a completely new campus. This is why the Hounds who stayed on campus this summer invited new recruits to come down for open gyms as much as possible.
“It’s a completely different game coming from high school to college,” Voelz said. “I know they’re all capable of playing at that college level, it’s just making them know that they’re capable, I think is going to be the biggest challenge. That’s just going to take encouragement. I mean some pressure situations and getting them outside their comfort zone, but that’s how everyone improves as a player.”
Reed said this season, they are going to take it one game at a time and will start by focusing on the first game against Michigan Tech at the Hillsdale Tournament on Sept. 1.