After losing their two senior captains, Plattsburgh State volleyball is looking toward its returning players and incoming freshman class to propel the team forward in their 2015 quest for the SUNYAC playoffs.
The Cardinals finished their most recent season on a long string of losses, most of which were blowouts. After starting their season with a decent 4-5 record, the Cardinals only secured victories in two of their final eighteen matches, finishing the season with a 6-20 overall record, and 0-9 in in-conference play.
The beauty of college sports, however, is that a new season brings new new players and new opportunities to succeed.
Head coach Jake Bluhm, who is now in his second season as head coach of PSUC, is confident that this program is now on a better track for success, and likes his squad’s chances to lead a successful campaign.
“We are definitely expecting to take a giant step forward with some of the players we brought in,” Bluhm said. “Three of the freshmen are really going to be seeing the court and we expect all of them to have a big impact. They are young but they are very skilled players.”
Assistant coach Matt Lein explained how the arrival of this talented new group has been a motivator for the rest of the more experienced team as well.
“We brought in a bunch of solid freshmen that are really going to help our team out,” Lein said. “They’ve had a great impact on our returning players as well, definitely forcing them to step up their game.”
This group of girls being pushed by their younger teammates, who now have one or two PSUC seasons experience, are ready to step into larger roles for their team, and are making it their mission to change the losing mentality that has been looming over the Cardinals in their recent program history.
“There is definitely a couple of girls who understand the culture of the program needs to change,” Bluhm said. “We are doing captain selection through a job application process this year and a couple underclassmen applied. There is just a buzz among the team right now and a lot of younger girls are trying to step up and become leaders.”
In addition to their focusing in off the court, PSUC is ready to buckle down on the court, and put their focuses on a few issues that plagued the team last year, communication and ball control.
Miranda Sheffer, a sophomore opposite hitter and setter who saw significant court time for PSUC in her freshman season, believes better communication and an attitude promoting teamwork rather than selfishness can help the Cards win more matches.
“Communicating, not getting down on each other and being one big team and not individuals is important,” Sheffer said.
Lein’s goals for the team are simple, perform at the highest level possible and lengthen their season with a playoff run. Both are tasks he sees his team more than capable of performing.
“We definitely want to perform the best that we can and make it to SUNYAC tournament and be competitive every single week,” Lein said. “As for overall record we are trying to get to .500 or better.”
This would be quite an accomplishment for the Cardinals, who have only managed to secure a winning record in one of the past five seasons.
It would seem that Bluhm, Lein and the 15 girls on the PSUC volleyball team are ready to make some changes to a program that has become used to the concept of losing. The addition of some freshman talent as well as a zoned in group of experienced players provides a solid foundation more than capable of turning into a dominant force.
Email Bailey Carlin at email@example.com