From beginning to end, the 2013 season wasn’t easy for the Geneseo volleyball team. Being its first season after reinstating the program, head coach Jen Salmon was uncertain if she would fill a roster, let alone of talented student-athletes. And so she began with a squad of 15, who had little to no intercollegiate experience, not yet aware of how enthusiastic, committed and genuine the student-athletes would be.
They’ve come a long way – so much that the Knights appeared to be a completely different team in the final weekend of the 2013 season.
Geneseo earned two wins on Saturday Nov. 2, ending the season on a high note. The team completed the season at 13-19 overall and 2-7 in SUNYAC play.
Regardless of the wins and beyond the numbers, Geneseo’s game play was so different that some coaches approached Salmon and asked, “How did you lose all the matches you lost?”
But what the coaches didn’t know were all the factors that the team faced: losing last season and bringing in a young, inexperienced team.
The Knights approached the Oct. 30 match against Nazareth College with a different mindset that “let them free,” Salmon said. “It gave them the ability to play for the love of the game, to play for fun, so their true colors showed.”
That positive energy continued through Saturday when Geneseo consequently swept Alfred University and claimed a 3-2 victory over St. John Fisher College later that day.
It all clicked that final weekend – the “right time,” Salmon said.
“All of those things we’ve worked on all season, skill wise, combinations and consistency and executing, everything just fell into place,” she said.
“I saw them do things that I haven’t seen them do all season,” she said, exposing their true capability, talent, “who [they] really are.”
But how? Hard work and heart.
And seeing that, Salmon said, is a better ending to the inaugural season than a playoff berth.