The Maroon

Volleyball makes summer strides

Mass Communication freshmen, Eva Allen jumps up to spike the ball during volleyball preseason practice. Allen will be one of the new volleyball players to play for the Loyola volleyball team this season.

TIFFANY KUDIWU /THE MAROON

Mass Communication freshmen, Eva Allen jumps up to spike the ball during volleyball preseason practice. Allen will be one of the new volleyball players to play for the Loyola volleyball team this season.

KARL GOMMEL

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With almost two weeks of daily practices completed, the Loyola volleyball team is ready to start the season with its first games this weekend.

The team will travel to Chicago to play in the Illinois Tech Tournament on Aug. 24 and 25. The ‘Pack will play four teams over a two-day period before returning home to prepare for its next tournament in Houston, TX on Aug.

31 and Sept. 1.

Coming off of a 23-11 season

that included a 10-4 conference record, the team aims to improve this year. Head Coach Tommy Harold said that the team did not focus on a specific record to achieve this season but rather to get better each day.

“It’s always our goal to concern ourselves with improvement,” Harold said. “If we prepare the right way, come game time, the wins will fall into place.”

According to Harold, players

have been improving over the summer and the preseason. The preseason schedule includes three daily sessions, with one focusing on individual skills, a midday workout and a full team practice in the evening.

Harold identified Becca Burnett as a player who has done a nice job improving this preseason. Harold says she will step into the libero position this season.

Harold feels that it is still too early to notice the biggest difference between this year’s team

and last year’s. The team has not established its new identities yet. Harold says that this takes shape over the course of the entire season.

“We keep saying it’s a new year with new identities and new roles,” he said.

The team only graduated four seniors from last season, making for nine returning players and five incoming freshmen. According to Harold, the biggest adjustment for freshmen is getting used to the speed of the game at the college level.

“In high school, a lot of times

they could survive off of athleticism. Now the technique is better and the game is more above the net,” he said.

Harold feels that the most important challenge facing the entire team is internal. He reiterated the challenge to keep improving and staying on task.

“We worry about controlling what we can control. We want to control our preparation, effort and focus,” Harold said.

The team does not prepare by

watching film of the upcoming teams in the preseason tournaments, but Harold said that once conference play begins, the team will start looking at film of opposing teams that they will play multiple times.

The team opens its conference schedule on Sept. 11th with a game at the University of Mobile. Loyola won both games last season against Mobile.

Karl Gommel can be reached at [email protected]

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