While a postseason is out of sight for the Geneseo volleyball team, the 2013 season proved to be a valuable learning lesson. The Knights began the season as an inexperienced squad with a team nearly full of all first-years. As head coach Jen Salmon noted, the young team was unconfident and a “tense, mentally weak team” at first, but developed into a tougher, stronger, more confident team.
That character showed against conference opponents on Oct. 25 and Oct. 26 in the final weekend of SUNYAC pool play. Entering the weekend 1-5 in SUNYAC, Geneseo faced SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Fredonia and SUNY Plattsburgh in a round-robin tournament. All three teams stood ahead of the Knights in conference play.
The Knights went 1-2 in the tournament, beating Oneonta before losing to Fredonia and Plattsburgh, both by a score of 3-1.
Although Geneseo’s 2-7 final conference record bested SUNY Brockport’s 0-9, it wasn’t enough to qualify for the SUNYAC tournament. The top six teams at the conclusion of conference play begin playoffs on Nov. 8. top-seeded and undefeated SUNY New Paltz will host the tournament.
“We could have done better,” Salmon said. “But I don’t think anyone is devastated or really upset about how we finished. I do think that, overall, it was a positive finish.”
After a year that was dedicated to learning and transitioning into the restored program, Salmon said she hopes to build off of the new foundation, especially heading into the spring nontraditional offseason.
During the offseason, Salmon plans on providing one-on-one training in addition to sessions for specific positions. The team will return to hone basic skills and break bad habits. In previous years, Salmon said, from one fall to the next, there’s a “drastic difference” in improvement. None of the 15 Knights are graduating, so Geneseo potentially could have a full returning squad in fall 2014.
But first, the team is focusing on the culmination of the season: its final two matches. At this point, it’s about closing the season playing for pride, Salmon said.
The Knights will face two nonconference competitors, Alfred University and St. John Fisher College, on Saturday Nov. 2.
We want to know at the end of these … matches that we’re a much different team than when we started at the beginning of the season,” Salmon said. “We want to be able to see that progress, to see that distinction.”
The volleyball team fell to Nazareth College 3-2 on Wednesday Oct. 30. Sophomore Paige Pendleton led the team with 13 kills.