Even after a rough weekend, the Plattsburgh State women’s volleyball team sees potential in this year’s squad.
This past weekend, PSUC suffered losses to St. Lawrence University, SUNYIT and the host team for the tournament, Potsdam.
PSUC first-year head coach Jake Bluhm, as well as team captains Maggie Schrantz and Meghan Clifford, attributed the losses to both the youthfulness of the team and the Cards having a tough time digging themselves out of ruts.
Four of the eight current starters are freshmen, so a period of adjustment is to be expected.
“The new players still have a lot to learn when it comes to the college game itself,” Bluhm said. “But even the returners have a lot to learn as well such as adjusting to my specific style of play.”
Shrantz said she sees that the skill is there, but an adjustment is needed. She expressed that her teammates will need to combine their talent with focus and mental toughness, as well as assisting the younger players in getting acclimated to the pace of college athletics.
Clifford has similar feelings herself.
“We have more freshmen and sophomores than upperclassmen right now, so they are going to need time to get used to how fast the college game goes,” Clifford said.
The Cardinals, who went 4-3 at home last season, are hosting The Best Western-Ground Round Cardinal Classic this weekend. PSUC will face The Sage Colleges, Elms College and Bridgewater State in three out-of-conference games.
“It is definitely more fun to play with your home crowd around you and supporting you,” Clifford said.
Schrantz echoed those feelings.
“I definitely feel an advantage when playing in Plattsburgh,” she said. “Last year we went undefeated at our home tournament, so hopefully we can do that again this year.”
Although not having experienced a PSUC-hosted tournament yet himself, Bluhm is also confident his Cards can utilize being at home as an advantage.
“Being more familiar with a court and having a crowd rooting for you obviously can not hurt,” Bluhm said.
Bluhm has identified the issues he plans to work on in preparation for this weekend’s tournament, citing a need to tighten up ball control to increase consistency.
He also felt that an improvement in ball control could prevent the opposing teams from being able to gain momentum.
“If we can control the ball better, we can stop the other team from going on long runs of four, five, six straight points,” Bluhm said. “Runs like that are hard to come back from.”