Women’s volleyball team focuses on stronger offense this season

Posted September 15, 2015

In an effort to have a winning season this year, the UW-River Falls women’s volleyball team has made changes to its play and has a roster with six returning seniors.

After a 13-22 record last season, changes were made specifically by Head Coach Patti Ford with the intent to have a stronger offense. The changes began by moving around some returning players.

The switch began when Tayler Fertig, a junior, was moved from right side hitter to outside. To fill in the open right side, Lisa Keppers, a senior, was switched from middle. Finally, to fill the open spot in the middle, Amara Meyer, a sophomore, was rotated in.

With all these changes, Ford has seen improvements.

Ford said she feels this helped team members to work their side of the net better offensively. It has made them stronger at passing and serving. Ford went on to say that if they can now improve on their blocking, then their digging will get better to improve defensively.

Another change was the four freshman who were added to the roster this season.

Ford explained the process to get freshmen from their high school court to the college court is a long one. She looks for new players who match UW-River Falls both academically and athletically all season. The search for the current freshmen began their sophomore year of high school.

Each year Ford looks for players who can fit the team’s immediate and future needs. With this group of freshman, Ford said, she feels she was able to do just that.

“I think they bring us some needed depth,” Ford said. “They’re all capable of doing great things in their career.”

As the season has progressed the freshman have worked to learn the system of the college game and improve personal game.

However, it was not just switching up game play that was needed. This season the team has a returning class of six seniors compared to no seniors the previous year. Ford said this was a big deal for the team.

“It’s very rare that you get a group of six seniors that have a collective experience level to add,” she said.

Ford added that if a team wants to compete at a collegiate level, then the team would need a strong junior and senior standing, something the UW-River Falls team has not seen in a while.

Two of the seniors returning bring a great deal of experience. Both Lexi Pingel and Brianna Muetzel have been starting since their freshman year.

Fellow senior Kadie Brooks said that a large returning group of players will play a big role in their success in conference play this season.

“We have six seniors and four juniors, and so we’re a very old team. So I feel like we’re going to play very well because we’ve been playing together for a whole year,” she said.

With all the changes that occurred as the season began, and returning so many players, the outcome in wins has followed. So far this season the Falcons are 6-5, compared to last season at this time where they were 3-5.

However, Ford was not looking to make an outcome-based program at the beginning of the season.

“I think the most important thing is that they walk away that they played their best in every match, they were in every match, that they were well prepared,” she said. “Then hopefully the outcomes will follow.”

The Falcons have three invitationals, two triangulars, and eight conference matches left to play, according to their 2015 schedule.