Coach Matt Darling of the Gannon University’s volleyball team said the squad has looked pretty good in practice so far, but the team’s first scrimmage showed that they have many things to work on.
“We might not be great in early September, but we’ll be where we need to be in November,” Darling said.
The team is looking to regroup after losing the leaders of last season’s offensive effort to graduation. Lauren Sazama led the team with 641 points and will be missed along with her 548 kills.
Kayla Knickerbocker, a sophomore right side attacker, will need to step up to fill the lost offensive production and improve on her 252 points and 214 kills from a year ago.
Darling uses a unique method of leadership on the volleyball team.
“We don’t have a captain, so different people will need to take responsibility for the team’s needs,” Darling said. “I kind of like this approach, because we feel that everyone on the team can and will make a significant contribution to the team at some point during the year.”
Darling said that the younger players will learn more about this as they go through the season, but the upperclassmen will help the process a great deal.
Darling said that he is looking forward to the team’s first matches at 1 p.m. Saturday against Robert Wesleyan College and at 5 p.m. against Walsh University.
“We’ll focus mostly on our own ability to play a clean match and to use our strengths to get points,” Darling said. “Roberts and Walsh are very good teams, and we’ll need to be ready to play hard from start to finish.”