Thursday, September 29, 2011

SMU volleyball rises to new challenges

By Keotta House
Cardinal Staff

Despite having a 21-10 record last season, the Saint Mary’s University volleyball team was left out of the NCAA Division III national tournament.

Head Coach Mike Lester said this year’s squad is starting with a clean slate.

“The team went into this season with a completely different attitude,” said Lester. “We have a lot of talented players, a lot of great incoming players.”

Despite graduating seven players at the end of last year, the remaining returners, two seniors and five juniors, keep the team a close-knit group, Lester said.

“As much as I hate to say it, we as coaches don’t have to work as hard anymore,” Lester said. “The upper classmen have taken the reigns and have made the new girls feel part of the team.”

The team has already started the season with a pair of triple victories in the Ground Round Sugarloaf Classic at home and in the Endicott Tournament in Boston, Mass.

Tournament victories aren’t enough for the Cardinal volleyball team, according to senior captain Amy Kujak: “We want to finally win a national championship, that’s our goal.”

Winning is not the only key to a successful season for the team, and they intend not to become one-goal oriented.

“If the team can look back and say they had fun, they made life-long memories and they played their hardest each and every time they stepped on the court, then they have had a successful season,” Lester said.

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