Women’s club volleyball will compete in its final regular season tournament Sunday at Bowling Green before going to Dallas for Nationals April 4-6.
Even without having had a tournament since Feb. 2 at Michigan State, Vice President Alyssa Ulrich is confident in the team.
“I think we’ve progressed very well for not having any tournaments,” Ulrich said. “We’ve kept our practices quite difficult, so I think in that aspect we’ve advanced up to what we’d expect to for Nationals.”
The team has competed near the top of the silver bracket—finishing at the top at the University of Michigan tournament and second to BGSU in the MSU tournament—but Ulrich hopes the team can progress even further this weekend.
“I don’t know what teams will be there to see how we rank up against them,” she said. “But we would like to be in the gold bracket for sure.”
Compared to last year, Ulrich says the team is much more prepared for the NCVF Collegiate Club Volleyball Championships. Many players quit in the middle of the season last year, forcing the team to combine the A and B-teams before Nationals.
Being a club team, the players don’t have the same luxuries that varsity athletes have, which is why Ulrich said many players decided to quit last season. Players have to pay to play and practices tend to be late at night because class schedules can’t be automatically tailored around practices.
This group has been together all year, which has improved team chemistry and provided more competition during practice.
“I think because we do have an A and a B team, (practice) is already like tournament play,” Ulrich said.
Strong preparation will be even more valuable since the team has had a seven-week layoff between tournaments.
“From the past practices we’ve had, I think so because we’ve progressed so much,” Ulrich said. “Even though it is almost the end of the season we’re still getting to know each other and trust each other because we only practice two times a week.”
The team hopes this trust and experience will propel it into the gold bracket this weekend at BGSU and ultimately prepare the team for Nationals.