The Maroon

Tough schedule makes team better

Part two of a three-part series about scheduling

Chemistry+and+history+junior+Sabrina+Stansberry+prepares+to+return+the+ball.+The+team+finished+the+2012+season+with+an+overall+record+of+28-9.
Chemistry and history junior Sabrina Stansberry prepares to return the ball. The team finished the 2012 season with an overall record of 28-9.

Chemistry and history junior Sabrina Stansberry prepares to return the ball. The team finished the 2012 season with an overall record of 28-9.

TIFFANY KUDIWU/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

TIFFANY KUDIWU/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Chemistry and history junior Sabrina Stansberry prepares to return the ball. The team finished the 2012 season with an overall record of 28-9.

HASANI GRAYSON

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Loyola’s season may have ended in a conference semi-final loss, but players and coaches credited the non-conference schedule for helping the team get as far as it did.

Because a team’s non -conference opponents don’t have any affect on the conference standings, Head coach Tommy Harold tries to schedule games that he thinks will help prepare his team for their 14 conference games.

There are certain teams that are likely to appear on the schedule every year, but Harold said that the way he schedules teams changes depending on the type of team he has that year.

“If we’ve got a young team we may try to build confidence early and then ramp it up as it goes on,” Harold said. “If we’ve got a veteran team we may want to start with that competition and go at it right away.”

This year’s team had only two seniors, but Harold said that the season opening tournament was more to help one of his players play some games in her home town and that they didn’t have a lot of control over the caliber of competition in the tournament.

In spite of this, The Pack easily handled that weekend’s competition beating all four of their opponents in straight sets.

“Honestly, they were all pretty bad,” psychology sophomore and outside hitter Kara Nishimuta said. “At that tournament we were kind of shaky as a team, we were just getting to know how each other played. But in Houston we played a little bit stronger teams and we played a little bit better so it built on itself.”

Loyola went undefeated in their non-conference games. Though the team remained hot when playing teams outside of Southern States Athletic Conference, Harold said he saw a steady improvement as the season continued.

“There were some strong teams in there. Montana Tech gave us some match up problems early, but we were able to handle them,” he said. “There was a process throughout the year where we saw improvement and got some results.”

Nishimuta and mass communication freshman Eva Allen both highlighted their tough five set match win against Montana Tech as a moment where they felt the team come together. But Allen said it took a few matches for them to adjust back to conference play.

“When we got back to conference we were a little shaky,” she said. “But once we got back to how we used to be playing at the beginning of the season, we were taking teams out that we had originally lost to.”

After losing to the University of Mobile and Belhaven early on in the season, Loyola was able to pull out victories in their late season rematches. They were also able to beat Brenau in a close five-set match in the SSAC tournament after dropping a three set match to them on

Sept. 24. Though the conference tournament loss was disappointing, Harold feels that the non-conference schedule had the desired effect on his team.

“At the end of the day the trophy goes to the conference, not the out-of-conference matches,” he said. “We got there at the end of the year, we were playing at a high level.”

Hasani Grayson can be reached at [email protected]

 

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