The Lady Cats fall camp began Saturday with many new faces walking on to the new Shroyer Gym floor. The ladies are coming off a 15-14 season, finishing 6th overall in the Big Sky Conference.
MSU lost four seniors after graduation and have only two on the roster this year. The Bobcats will need to rely on their youth if they want to advance farther than last season with eight freshman joining the team this fall. Head Coach Kyle Weindel hopes that the new groups experience prior to college will help their transition to the college level.
"It's always a challenge when you bring in this many new faces," said Weindel. "I think what's important for this group is they all come from very successful high school and club programs, whether its state championships or if it's national championships at various levels. They all have some big game or big match experience."
Senior Nicole Baker echoed Weindels response, saying, "we have eight freshman and they were up here for a month and a half before we even started. Right off the bat we knew they were here and they were ready to play and take us one step further than last year."
One thing that the team has noticed is the growth in support from the community. The school saw higher attendance at home games along with the highest attendance levels the school has ever seen at the teams summer volleyball camp.
"It's really nice to have that support," said junior Kasey Schlatter. "We had a really good season last year so all that support from the community will be very nice going into the season."
"It means the world," Nicole said as she smiled. "All the sports here are supported but when you hear fans and boosters say, it's not just football, it's 'how did volleyball do this week?' That's always great to hear."
I asked what goals the team had set for themselves heading into the season and the universal response was "keep getting better."
"The goal is to always get better," said Coach Weindel. "I want to eclipse the amount of wins we had last year."
"We have a really tough preseason with all the tournaments so hopefully we'll be ready heading into the conference," Kasey replied. "We're just trying to get better every single day."
"I want to play my best volleyball and as a team my senior year," said Nicole. "We made tourney for the first time in eight or nine years and that's great but as Kyle said that's now the standard. We wanna take it one step further. We want to compete for a championship."