The women’s volleyball team is entering their first season in the Big East conference. The team surprised many people last season as an independent, which has earned them respect and confidence from their opponents.
“Our confidence will be high knowing that we did well last season, but we won’t be a surprise in the conference because the other teams saw how well we did last season,” said head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch.
The team is off to a great start. Miami came into the season ranked sixth in the Big East, but after winning the Wichita State Tournament, which included wins over New Mexico, Georgia, Stephen F. Austin, and Wichita State, the Canes have been propelled to the No. 1 seed in the Big East conference.
“We started the season ranked sixth in the Big East, and now we are No. 1 because we have the most wins, but that is great, and we will work hard to keep that No.1 ranking,” said sophomore Jamie Grass.
This year’s team is led by returning senior Marcela Gamarra, who will be called upon to guide the team with her experience
“We all look up to Marcela because she is more mature and has more knowledge than anyone else,” said Grass.
Marcela’s knowledge has helped her lead this team, but her talents on the court are admired by her teammates as well.
“Marcela is our only senior and she brings a lot to the court – experience, athleticism, power, and talent, so we do look to her for leadership,” said teammate Mallorey James.
Along with Gamarra, James, and Grass, Valeria Tipiana will try to help lead the Hurricanes into the Big East tournament.
Tipiana earned Big East player of the week honors for her performance in the Wichita State Tournament.
“Everyone is really excited, especially with the great 4-0 start we had and winning the Wichita State tournament. We are looking forward to conference play, to going up against teams like Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, and Villanova,” said James.
The team has several goals for the season. The ‘Canes want to be one of the top four teams in the Big East so that they can get a chance to play in the post-season tournament.
“Our first goal is to make the conference tournament, then of course once we get there, we want to win it, and get that automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament,” said Lantagne-Welch.
Even though the team may have season goals, they know that they cannot afford to get ahead of themselves.
“We are going to take it one day at a time and one game at a time,” said James.
A young team does not always deal well with adversity, but this team has a lot of confidence, which they will try to keep with them throughout the season.
The Hurricanes’ main strengths this season include great leadership, very gifted athletes, but even more so, a great attitude and a lot of confidence.
“We are a very dedicated team, we are all here to get the job done. We will win some and lose some, but even if we lose, we will come back the next game and try harder,” said James.
Miami’s ability to play well, even when facing adversity, could be the ultimate factor in whether or not they win the Big East championship this season.
Darren Grossman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org