There are many concerns heading into a college volleyball game. Coaches worry about injuries, focus, limiting mistakes, game plans etc.
A coaches biggest concern should never need to be whether the bus to the tournament will make it all the way there or not.
The Mercyhurst College women’s volleyball team has had this problem on three occasions this season. Twice, the Mercyhurst buses have broken down on the way home from tournaments, causing the team to get in as late as 1 a.m.
This can be a concern especially when there is a game the following day, and ample time to sleep can be a problem.
The third breakdown came on a rented bus. This time, the hydraulic lift wouldn’t raise the bus back up once passengers were loaded. To get back home, the players had to hitch a ride on another bus, which happened to be the Edinboro University team bus.
Edinboro is not only a rival of Mercyhurst, but there was also some tension between coaches dating back to last season. The bus ride was quiet and awkward at times. However, the team continues to overcome issues that are out of their control.
With a record of 11-3 thus far, they have already started off stronger then last season. Last year, road games were of huge concern with most going as losses.
This year, even with the bus issues, the Lakers have managed a 2-2 record on the road and a 7-1 record at neutral sites. This is a big step for this season. With these early wins on the road, the team is pushing each other.
“Every play, everyday” has been the mantra for the 2010-11 women’s volleyball team. Junior outside hitter Kelsey Richardson said, “One of the most important things we focus on is pushing each other to be better every play everyday. There is constant competition for playing time.”
The push from players for time on the court has made everyone else better.
This is helping the younger players to gain experience from the upperclassmen.
Senior Captain Erin English expanded by saying “this year we are focusing on the team on and off the court, things we can do individually, to better ourselves and how we perform together on the court.”
And so far, it is showing. All these events have taken place leading up to the showdowns on Homecoming weekend against Edinboro and Gannon University.
Unfortunately, the road woes resurfaced Friday night losing 3 straight sets to a tough Edinboro team.
The first set was a close 25-23, but failed to reach 20 on the next two for the sweep.
Gannon was a much better performance for Mercyhurst. The Lakers won a 5-set battle for a tough home win.
Sophomores Chelsea Jensen and Becky Leusch led them with 13 and 12 kills. This was a big victory during Homecoming weekend to show a short memory and play well after a rough outing.
Hopefully the bus issues are long behind this Lakers team that is pushing for an Elite eight appearance that has eluded them the past couple years. With their new focus and teamwork, the Mercyhurst Lakers Volleyball team is well on their way to a successful season.