Niagara University, N.Y- What if I told you that one of the most successful teams on NU’s campus from a year ago started off the year 1-10? As hard as that may be to believe it’s true. The team I’m referring to is The Women’s Volleyball team. Just a year ago, the team posted a 18-10 record with a 14-4 conference record and was the number two seed in the MAAC tournament. The question remains, how has one of the most promising teams at NU from a year ago started so poorly?
When asked about the teams slow start, first year head coach Donna Day pointed out how different this year’s team is compared to last year.
“We lost ten players from last year’s team,” Day said. “Some to injury, some to graduation, and some to transferring. So when you lose ten it is a completely different team. So the expectation that we’re anywhere near last year’s group is on some level unfair.”
With the loss of ten players their has been a infusion of youth on the team, while that can be good for team chemistry in the long term, it also means young players are called on to play huge rolls.
One of those young players is Freshman setter Jessica Streuer. After an injury to Junior setter Mirna Kovacevic, a first year transfer, Streuer was thrust into the starting roll and exceeded expectations. When asked about Streurs performance thus far, Coach Day gave her praise.
“We graduated both of our setters last year which makes us a drastically different team,” Day said. “We have a transfer setter (Kovacevic), and Jess [Streuer], a freshman setter. The transfer gets hurt so now Jess [Streur] is running a one man show as a freshman. That is the most challenging situation in the world of volleyball and she is handling it beautifully.”
It is clear the Women’s volleyball team has faced an uphill battle this season from a new coach, losing ten players, and no seniors on the team it may be easy to write the Purple Eagles. There is a new air around this team. The Purple Eagles have a promising coach in Donna Day and a core group of young talent that shows potential.
Statistics as of Sept. 21, 2018