Our defense has been great
A season doesn’t begin on the day of your first match, and it doesn’t begin the first day of preseason practice. A new season begins when one season ends. After our NCAA tournament run was over in 2012, we got a break to finish off the fall semester and enjoy time with our families, then it was back to work come January.
While off-season training isn’t always the best part of an athlete’s career, it is vital to the success of the next season. This is when we have time to improve individual skills and learn new techniques. We also use this time to get stronger and faster with intense strength training and conditioning.
I believe the off-season for this 2013 team was crucial and extremely successful. This past weekend, we got to see that hard work start to pay off. We had players who made tremendous strides, and now it’s really starting to come together.
We had two solid performances against ACC teams. We broke a team record for blocks with 28 in a five-set win over North Carolina. For us, this was a huge accomplishment. Not only did we upset the No. 12-ranked team, but our defense was great.
Blocking is my favorite skill in volleyball. While it might not be the most important in the scheme of things, it sure brings a lot of excitement from the crowd and it gives energy to the team.
As a middle there is no better feeling than reading the set correctly, closing to the pin blockers, and together getting a huge stuff block that causes the ball to shoot to the floor. It isn’t an easy skill, and there is a lot more technique behind it than it seems. Hand placement and stability of your body are crucial to getting a great block.
We spend at least 30 minutes a day in practice working on blocking and the different situations we might run into when blocking, and it has really started to pay off.
With two wins at home last weekend, and two great team performances, we are now sitting in second place in the conference. Every match is extremely important to us, and we want to continue to get better, both individually and as athletes working together to achieve a common goal.
Until next time, Go Noles!