Young Blazer volleyball team looks strong in opening scrimmage - Athletics

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Young Blazer volleyball team looks strong in opening scrimmage

VINCENNES, Ind. –The new look Vincennes University volleyball team had to shake off some of the rust this afternoon after not playing a match since Nov. 9, 2019, as VU hosted a scrimmage match against Calumet College of St. Joseph.

The Trailblazers looked strong in the scrimmage against CCSJ with VU learning throughout the game how this young group would play with so many getting their first glimpse of college volleyball.

“We have 13 players and nine freshmen, so some of our rotations had five freshmen on the floor. We knew that it was going to take some time for them to gel out there,” VU head coach Gary Sien said. “We still have some work to do, but for our first game in over a year I thought we did pretty well.”

“We can talk about skills or stats, but one thing I told the team that I liked was how they just hung together,” Sien added. “There were times where Calumet would come back and go on a run but we kept together and that’s great to see out of a young team.”

The Spring 2021 version of the Trailblazer Volleyball team will look a lot different than the 2019 squad after losing 10 players and only bringing back four returning sophomores.

Savannah Grimes and Breanna Metzger are the only two players returning with major in game experience for the Blazers, with Kacee Nicholson and Olga Vasovic seeing the floor sparingly in 2019.

“Any year, no matter if we have four or 10 sophomores, it’s the same for us, we want them to be the leaders and be the examples,” Sien said of his sophomore group. “I told this group back in March that they have to be ready to lead because no one else is going to do it for them.”

“They have to let the new players know not only how to play the sport but what to expect as a student, what to expect in the residence halls and all other forms of being a student here. That’s what I call ‘big sister-little sister’, it’s not just about volleyball, it’s about life.”

VU also brings to the floor a massive group of nine incoming freshmen who will be counted on throughout this season.

Incoming freshmen include; Amee Beedle, Emilie Cornelson, Kylie Giesler, Anna Johnsey, Allyson Kuhl, Jamie Russell, Grace Earp, Claudia Mendoza and Elizabeth Combs.

“We will be playing a lot of freshmen, just because we have to. The group that graduated back in May was a big part of our team,” Sien said. “We had about nine players in our rotation last year and we’re only bringing back two, so we had to replace seven spots this year and we did, but we couldn’t replace that experience and that’s what they’re learning now.”

“I told them all fall that I don’t know what this team is like. We could only practice so much and you can only tell so much about a player from practice but to truly know what a team is comes from games,” Sien added. “So after today I have an idea, but we’re still a work in progress so we’ll see as the season goes on.”

The Trailblazers look to start off the year strong with their home opener on Friday, Jan. 22 against Lincoln Trail at 7 p.m.

“I thought our serve receive was very good today and in volleyball at any level you have to get that first ball to your setter so she can run her offense. We can definitely do better, but I thought that was one of our highlights today,” Sien said.

“We lost almost all of our front row players from last year when we were second in the country in blocks but this group is very athletic and I feel like we can be close to where we were last year, maybe not second, but not middle of the pack either,” Sien added. “I think we have the skills and if we stay together, I think we’re going to be a pretty tough team to go against.”

All Trailblazer volleyball home games will be livestreamed and can be found at: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/vutrailblazers/

No official scores or stats from today’s scrimmage will be posted.

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