By Kathryn Flippin
While the odds do not sit well for a team in transition to a new division with a completely new coaching staff, the Lady Bulldogs volleyball team is optimistic.
In a contact sport, it takes time for a team to adjust to competing with different players. A team has to find its “groove” and familiarize itself with any new changes that take place.
With a record of 2-2, the ladies know it is going to be a long road ahead, but Head Coach Christine Mooberry is hopeful for a positive season.
“We’ve only had three total play dates so far, but Florida Tech was challenging, as was our first conference match the other night against West Alabama,” Mooberry said.
“West Florida, our next conference opponent, is ranked in the top 25 nationally for Division II, so we expect them to be very strong.
“On top of that, we’ve seen some of our conference teams already at a tournament, and we know it’ll be a tough conference in general.”
Mooberry was appointed head coach in April after spending the last four years at Montreat College in North Carolina.
Mooberry improved that team’s standing in conference rankings each season she coached at Montreat. She also led her team to at least 25 victories in each of her last three seasons.
Dr. Jerry Tidwell, senior vice president for university relations, has commented on Mooberry’s competitive spirit and desire for her young players to grow and mature in their relationship with Christ as well as in athletics.
Jami Humphries, junior media communications major and a defensive specialist for the Lady Bulldogs, said she appreciates Mooberry’s consistency to always bring a Christ-like aspect to practices and games. She said the attitude encourages her on and off the court.
Humphries said she also knows this year will be challenging for the team because of the transition to the NCAA, seven new players and a new coaching staff.
“The transition and adjustment will definitely be hard. We have a young team, but a very talented team,” Humphries said. “I see the potential for all of us to come together and flow well once we have fixed those small things. Team chemistry only comes from experience, and with volleyball being a mental sport, it is important for us to establish that.”
Humphries said she has not always played for teams that were sound, so she knows how much a solid psychological foundation and physical chemistry factor into success.
She sees the drive and devotion many of the competitors have, which she said spurs her on to perfecting her skills and devotion to the sport.
Mooberry is hopeful for a strong season.
“We realize that there will be a lot of challenges this year with us being younger and smaller than most teams we play, but we work hard, know why we are playing and strive for excellence, which is already positively affecting the team.”