With a record of 18-10, the University of Indianapolis volleyball team is headed to the Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament seeking to secure their place both in the conference and in the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional. Head Coach Jason Reed said that the team is right at the cusp of making the NCAA tournament—only two wins away from getting to the “magic number” needed to make it.
“Now, the magic number, typically, in any given season is 20,” Reed said. “That kind of puts you in a really good place for making the NCAA tournament. And so we’re kind of right in that mix.”
According to the UIndy Athletics website, the team is scheduled to play in Williamsville, IL, in the GLVC Quarterfinal against Lewis University. According to junior outside hitter Sophia Parlanti, the team is working really hard to do well and win in the GLVC.
“… We have had highs and lows and we are doing what we wanted to accomplish this year,” Parlanti said. “And working hard to hopefully win the tournament.”
Reed said the team is in a position right now where they are in control of their own destiny—meaning that their performance in both the GLVC and the upcoming NCAA tournament relies on their efforts as a team. However, Reed said there are a lot of new people and thus new ideas have played a role in the team’s culture this season.
“Over the course of the season, the biggest change, I guess from this year in terms of years past, is that we’ve done a much better job of that we haven’t really lost our identity in terms of who we want to be and kind of what we want in terms of what our standard should be,” Reed said. “But we’ve still, in my opinion, created an environment that’s inclusive of the people and has allowed for people to still grow whilst still making sacrifices for the betterment of the group.”
Reed also said conflict resolution, being selfless and trying to be a good member of the team requires a lot of sacrifice, and that having returning players assume a leadership role within the team has aided in the overall success of the team. Parlanti is one of these leaders and said she has been working over the course of the season to find her role on the team.
“I think that I have made better connections with the other players on the team and trying to understand what they need for me to better the team and I guess that also comes with the leadership,” Parlanti said.
Reed said when coaching, he tries to coach from the sidelines and let the players have a role in leading the team. He also focuses on making himself a resource to them, especially for the younger players who may be missing home.
“I’ve called myself ‘dad away from dad,’” Reed said. “For our freshmen that are away from home for the first time. They need somebody that they can talk to and trust and build a relationship with and know that I’m here to help them and not necessarily judge them and obviously hold them accountable. And that’s a huge part of it, both on the court and off the court. But really, I want to be the best resource that they have at this place. So that way they can achieve their goals that they’re trying to achieve.”
Junior setter Claire Morris is working hard to achieve her personal goals as well, saying she is taking a bigger leadership role on the team than she had in previous years.
“I have definitely taken on or tried to take on more of a leadership role within the team,” Morris said. “And there’s little aspects physically, specifically for my position that I feel like I’ve improved on definitely, but definitely trying to take on more of a leadership role.”
Morris said the team is preparing for their upcoming games in multiple ways. Training physically with an emphasis on mental preparation—not necessarily changing their routine but focusing on doing what they can to be ready.
“We’re kind of still doing the same thing physically,” Morris said. “But mentally, it’s just being prepared. We know exactly who we’re gonna play, [we] played against them before already this year. It’s more so just a mental reset kind of than a physical or doing something different.”
Editor’s note: The UIndy Volleyball team lost their game against Lewis University on Friday, Nov. 17. The final score of the GLVC tournament quarterfinal game was 0-3 in favor of the Flyers.