The 2014 Union University volleyball season has come to a conclusion with a final record of 8-24 and 3-17 in the Gulf South Conference.
“I am continuing to lay the foundation, raise the levels of expectation for the team and learn what the team is capable of,” said head coach Tripp Swisher. “The record hasn’t been what we hoped, but the way the team is competing has certainly improved drastically.”
Swisher came to Union from the University of Memphis where he helped coach the Lady Tigers volleyball team for two years. He has also coached women’s volleyball at the high-school and club level.
Swisher is the first coach in recent history that has led the Union volleyball team for longer than one year. At the conclusion of the 2014 season, he completed his second year as head coach.
“There has been lots of turnover in the coaching department over the past few years and this is the first time in a while that the players have had a coach for two consecutive years,” Swisher said. “It has been a challenge to overcome the recent history of the program, but we certainly have brighter days on the horizon and I am very encouraged by the future of Union volleyball.”
The Lady Bulldogs fought hard against some tough teams in the conference throughout the entire season.
“Our biggest competition or toughest games seemed to come from the top of the conference tables, teams like West Florida, Shorter and Valdosta State. We always played tough against them,” said assistant coach Jon Dawson, a senior media communications major. “Taking two games off West Florida here at home was a great accomplishment and the team played their hearts out.”
On Oct. 25, the Lady Bulldogs stunned a visiting West Florida team, who was ranked no. 22 in NCAA Division II at the time, taking the first set 26-24. Union had never taking a set off of UWF in the three years they have been playing teams from the GSC. However, Union went on to lose the match 2-3.
Despite not finishing the season off with a winning record, the Lady Bulldogs have maintained positive attitudes and have kept sharpening their skills as players. They have been described as a dynamic group of girls with great chemistry on and off the court.
Swisher said, “They are a tightly knit group and very unique in that they are a well bonded team and have great chemistry on and off the court, which has helped them persevere through the past seasons.”