With the 2013 volleyball season ending less than four months ago, it is time to look towards the next season.
CSU will lose seniors Sam Peters, Michelle Smith and freshman outside hitter Michelle Lawrence. With holes to fill, spring scrimmages and practices are pivotal to preparing incoming and returning players for another competitive season in Ram Country.
“Well, we have to get a couple of kids ready to start,” head coach Tom Hilbert said. “We want to make everybody a little bit better as a volleyball player. There are little things you can improve upon that translates into points.”
With a priority geared towards the starting lineup, Hilbert is trying Adrianna Culbert on the outside as well as preparing Acacia Andrews to start in the middle blocker position. There is still no decision on where incoming recruits will fit quite yet.
“Somebody has to play.Whether they play right or left, I do not know,” Hilbert said. “You know it could be the Croatian girl (Sanja Cizmic), it could be Jasmine (Hanna), it could be the Canadian (Alexandra Poletto) playing on the right. There are a lot of people that could do it, we need at least one new player to start immediately.”
Now in practice nearly five times every week, the Rams are looking to make changes on the court from the offense and defense, as well as see where the new recruit will fit for the upcoming season.
“We are working a lot on serving and serve receive,” Hilbert said. “I would like to improve defensively. I think we can, but there are very slight improvements you can make on defense that make a big difference and they do not even show up in the stat book.”
At the start of last season, the Rams went in with an underdog mentality. CSU took it one game at a time all the way to the first round of the NCAA tournament.
“I think by mid-season we did not have the underdog mentality quite as much as when the season started,” Marlee Reynolds said. “We are going to keep that same mentality there to win and we are not going to have it handed to us every single game.”
CSU has not yet released its scheduled for the fall season, though there is expectations to have top NCAA teams in the mix.
“I see us going further than we did last season,” Reynolds said. “Just because we do not win as many games does not mean that we are failing, we all have the goal of going further in the NCAA tournament. And, of course, that comes with winning the Mountain West conference again.”
CSU will travel to Kansas this weekend where the team will particiapte in a scrimmage against Denver University and Witchita State. The Rams will return to Moby Arena April 12 to scrimmage BYU.
Collegian Assistant Sports Editor Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @haleighhamblin.