NCAA Collegiate volleyball has been in full swing for a few weeks now. While every part of the year is important to the preparation and maintenance of a college team, sometimes we put too much into the first few matches…deciding too early whether the team is doomed to lost or destined for greatness.
This team is no exception.
Fontbonne University is a small NCAA DIII school nestled in the Clayton area of St. Louis County in Missouri. The Women's Volleyball team has had a few changes within the past few seasons. Off to a rough start by starting the season 0-4, mixed with new faces on the team, many are ready to chalk this season up as a rebuilding year, except they are using this term as an excuse to make losing feel better.
Don't write the end of this story yet. Head Coach Meredith Heater returns for her second season, ready to establish a competitive foundation for the Griffins. Last season, Fontbonne finished 6th in the SLIAC Conference (St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) with a roster of only 9 players. This year, the Griffins boast 15 players, including 9 newcomers eager to work and begin their college volleyball careers.
Heater is joined by another newcomer: Assistant Coach Melanie Treadway. This first-time Fontbonne coach has proven ready to focus on the day-to-day aspects of the game in addition to conditioning and recruiting. Also by Heater's side for the second year in a row is Graduate Assistant Megan Healey. As a former libero, her expertise in defense and serve receive will be her specialty.
This coaching trio has every aspect of the game covered. Add to that, a roster full of competitive athletes ready to play to win makes this the perfect recipe for a successful season even despite a less than stellar start.
The Griffins' box scores of the matches at the Augustana College Volleyball Tournament suggest that the team struggled during their matches posting a 0-4 finish to the weekend. As a former collegiate player and coach, I urge you to be cautious when look through the stats. Yes, it wasn't the best start to a season, but looking closer at the Box Stats, there were close sets – proving that with more experience and improved team chemistry, this young team can have better than a typical rebuilding year.
Experience and team chemistry don't happen overnight (much to the dismay of coaches around the world!). A team doomed to lose, does not show any fight – unlike the ladies of Fontbonne. A team doomed to lose, does not pull on their jerseys with pride – unlike the Griffins. However, a team destined to win, will do so…despite any and all odds against them.
Fontbonne takes the court next against another St. Louis opponent, located about 4 miles away. St. Louis College of Pharmacy will host the match on September 17th. First whistle for service is scheduled for 7pm CST.
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