The Geneseo women’s volleyball team has been going through a transitional period this fall—more so than years past. With a new coach, new players and a schedule that has them playing every weekend for about two months straight, it can be taxing both mentally and physically. After a weekend with a 2-2 record, however, the Knights are looking in a positive direction. “The team is making progress, but with as much progress as we are making, so is everyone else; and that’s what makes this league so competitive and challenging during the season,” head coach Amber Dunn said.
Dunn noted that she believes the team still hasn’t peaked yet. “This weekend will be our first SUNYAC weekend of the year, which is exciting and nerve-wracking,” she said. “Our goals are to serve and pass well, have good hands on the blocks and allow our defense to play from behind … if we can put ourselves in a good position to do these things successfully, we will have a good conference season.”
Geneseo has improved their record to 6-8 so far in the season. As a team that finished 18-9 last season, the players are working to get back to that point. With only one home week left in the season—a home week that isn’t until Oct. 21, no less—the Knights will have to rely on veteran leadership and knowledge of the second half stretch to put together a run for the SUNYAC title.
“Luckily, we have a lot of upperclassmen who have been in these close games, so they are very familiar with what it takes to win at this level and what we need to do to be successful each and every day,” Dunn said. “There is a different feeling involved when you play conference games versus just playing the non-conference tournament weekends, so once we mentally prepare ourselves for the next step, everything should fall into place.”
The Knights have gotten major contributions from seniors Paige Pendleton and Lizzy Morton. They have combined for 196 of the team’s 516 kills this season and average about two kills per set. Morton—as well as juniors Danielle Sayler and Emma Lannon—are leading the team in digs, with the trio combining for 419 of the team’s 739 digs. Dunn emphasized that she looks to these veterans to provide much more to the team than simply on-court performance.
“I am lucky to have such a great group of girls and they come out in every practice and every game and give everything they have. Effort is a big part of any sport and when we do our best is when we have given the most effort on both sides of the game,” Dunn said. “They also seem to have a great off court connection as a lot of them live together and spend a lot of time together. So I think that helps team chemistry and makes it that much easier to come together when we need it.”
The Knights travel to Buffalo to take on SUNY Plattsburgh and SUNY New Paltz on Friday Sept. 25 and Saturday Sept. 26 respectively.