Volleyball team preps for Regional 24 action
Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 18:10
With the 2012 Parkland volleyball regular season coming to a close, the team looks fired up for the upcoming Region 24 tournament, which is hosted by the Cobras this year.
The team enters next week’s Regional as No. 3 in the field, behind only Illinois Central College and Lincoln Land College, who are rated No. 1 and No. 2 respectively. Both are teams that the Cobras have already beaten this season, either during a tournament or an individual match.
The Region 24 tournament begins Wednesday, Oct. 31at Dodds Athletic Center at 6:00 p.m. The Cobras will first face No. 6 Rend Lake (9-28) and are favored to win on paper.
The Cobras had an unbelievable regular season racking up a record of 37-7 and earning a ranking of sixth in the country. They look to end the regular season on a strong note, with a tri-match against Vincennes and East Central College on Saturday and are hoping to end the season 39-7.
This team has an unbelievable amount of momentum going into Regionals and going out this weekend on top would make the team gain even more momentum down the stretch.
Head Coach Cliff Hastings says, “I think the regular season went about as well as I could have drawn it up. I liked that we struggled a bit the first few weeks.”
“I think that really brought a high level of alertness and attention to the girls in terms of their needed commitment and work ethic to be successful. Of course, I like that we won the conference and had a 27-match winning streak in the middle. We defeated a number of top-notch teams, and it showed our team, our supporters and other teams that we are a force to think seriously about.”
“I think going into Regionals, we are pretty prepared,” Dana Belcher, sophomore, replied. “We have played about 40 games, I feel like we still have stuff to work on, but I think this coming week we have four practices and I think we will prepared for that. It’s my second year and I know last year, we went in there and lost our first game.”
“I think as sophomores, we have a lot of momentum with that, going back as revenge in a way, we’ll be fired up so hopefully we can get the freshmen fired up with that same type of energy as well,”
“As a team we have gained a lot of momentum,” Allyn Krenz, freshman, stated. “Losing to ICC this past weekend will give us the fire needed to beat them again. As a player I know what I need to do to help the team be successful, and losing the ICC makes me want to win even more.”
As the Cobras go into Regionals, they must be satisfied with their seeding. Even though they have the best record out of any of the teams in the field, they still have to be motivated to play at their highest level despite their ranking.
“There are some very good teams in our region, and we’re going to have to work hard to win one of those coveted bids to nationals,” Hastings explained.
“We didn’t necessarily create the easiest path for ourselves, but nothing worth having is worth having if it was given to you. A tough path at Regionals reinforces the required work ethic needed for a tough path at Nationals to achieve our ultimate season goal.”
Belcher said, “Yes, I feel like we should have one that game against ICC and we dealt with that loss, but we have beat them before, so we have to go out there and fight because its Regionals and I think people should not lay down for these games because it is postseason and it’s what everything counts for.”
“We have a tough region and no matter where you are seeded, you play some tough matches. We are excited to have an opportunity to play for a chance to make Nationals,” Assistant Head Coach Gia Lewis-Smallwood explained.
Overall, this team has extremely high expectations, reaching Nationals. This is something that the team has a great chance to achieve. The Cobras have a great deal of talent come together to play as a team.
“My expectations for Regionals are to just make it to Nationals and I think we’ll focus on Nationals when the time comes. For now, we’re focused on making changes and working hard for Regionals,” sophomore Shelby Geers added.
Hastings added, “My expectations are that we play as a team, we fight hard, and we have a great time doing it. My expectations are never any more and never any less.”
“The girls have worked hard over the last 2.5 months, and they are ready. Each component is put in place for our team to be successful. If we do these things, the scoreboard at the end of the match will be in our favor.”
“It’s when we forget that it’s a game and we should be enjoying what we’re doing that we slip a bit. If these things stay at the forefront of our minds, I plan for another trip to Nationals where anything is possible.”
This team has all the confidence in the world. They are a hardworking group that never backs down, and keeping that up for the rest of the season may lead them to a National championship, something they have been striving to achieve.