Last season, two seniors graduated from the University of Indianapolis’ volleyball team. This allowed for the team to maintain a more experienced group this season, which is looked at as one of their greatest strengths according to Assistant Coach Hannah Nimrick.
As the team prepares for GLVC playoffs, they hold a 15-6 record overall with a 6-2 record in the conference. Senior defensive specialist Jena Davis said the team is trying to focus on one day at a time. Head Coach Jason Reed said he likes their chances at making the NCAA tournament.
“We just really need to keep worrying about ourselves and putting our best product on the floor each night,” Reed said. “…We have a really good group this year, our senior leadership has been exceptional and we also have a bunch of freshmen on the floor.”
Nimrick said the team holds many strengths from their shared bond to playing styles such as ball control. The team is focusing on improving other areas in order to perform better in the GLVC tournament, Davis said.
“We need to improve on being more consistent, our highs can’t get much higher but our lows are pretty low,” Davis said. “So if we could just work on evening that out and just being consistent all the time, that would really help us out in the playoffs.”
The team has had a few bad weekends this year Reed said, and the mistakes were on their side of the net. He said it seemed like there was something wrong, but there wasn’t and the team more so used those mistakes as learning opportunities.
The connection they share and their ability to play as themselves has led to a lot of success this season, according to Reed.
Reed said that the team has many qualities as individuals which allows for wins at the end of most matches when those qualities are brought together.
“This is such a cliche thing, but I would say the strength of our team is the strength of our team,” Reed said. “We don’t have a ton of weak links…. obviously we try to put the best out there every time but if we need to make a change, there’s no drop off. The girls that are coming in off the bench are doing such a good job. We just have a really good homogenous group who is able to do their job over and over and over again.”
Reed said team leadership from the players has been very beneficial to their success overall this season. With the team being an older group, it has allowed for more leadership from upperclassmen and a more diverse leadership than past groups, according to Reed.
“There’s always a transitional period, the way that one group leads the team is going to change every single year and there’s really no right or wrong way to do it,” Reed said. “But what I want to do as a coach is kind of help them find that voice that makes sense for them. So I think the best leadership is authentic to that group that’s trying to lead.”
Junior outside hitter Katie Furlong said the addition of the team’s assistant coaches Julie Street and Nimrick have been a large part in their improvement. Furlong said, they brought numerous improvements to the team. Some of them including new methods of coaching and more focused work within practices Furlong said.
“Julie [Street] implementing her system, Hannah [Nimrick] working so hard with our setters and our setters have gotten so much better too which is a big piece of our offense,” Furlong said. “So I think adding those two to the staff and then Jason has always been really good.”