To the untrained eye, or relying on stats alone, the Geneseo women’s volleyball team seems consistent, confident and committed, yet unrecognizable. With only two new members of the team, the majority of the Knights are returning athletes. So the question that naturally comes to mind is: what changed? Head coach Jennifer Salmon and junior defensive specialist Jia Sha believe that it cannot be pinpointed to one thing. Winning three of four games played Sept. 19 through Saturday Sept. 20, Geneseo was not deterred. Instead, the team took the experience from its one loss and applied it to the next two victories.
“We’re very good at composing ourselves, getting the job done and picking each other up,” Sha said. “The dynamic of the team is just helpful. It’s positive and easy to work around.”
The family aspect of the team is something that Salmon recognizes as a key contributor in the team’s success. “Our motto is ‘ohana,’ which means family and nobody gets left behind or forgotten,” Salmon said. “We’re all about being a family. I think that [is] … the reason why we are so successful this year.”
With the SUNYAC games quickly approaching, the team is buzzing with excitement. On Friday Sept. 26 and Saturday Sept. 27, the Knights will square off with SUNY Plattsburgh, SUNY Brockport and Buffalo State and Sha said they are thrilled to be able to see how they match up against each team.
“I’m really confident and excited to see how we face against everyone,” Sha said. “We’ve played teams this year that we lost to last year and we utterly defeated them, so this year I feel like it’s a brand new team.”
The Knights remain unfazed with an improved skillset and an appetite for success. They welcome the challenge the upcoming conference games will bring.
“If the other team gets a four point run, we don’t freak out and think that all hope is lost,” Sha said. “We pick ourselves up and … get the work done. We work harder… we don’t give up and we lay our hearts on the court and we strive to win as a team and win as a family.”
The Knights are definitely a new team with a new, winning attitude. Of course, it needs to continue in SUNYAC play for the team to truly be successful.
“This is the first weekend to show SUNYAC all about what Geneseo volleyball has evolved into,” Sha said. “I think that’s the whole essence of this weekend. Not showing off, but showing up.”