Aug. 26, 2009
ARLINGTON, Texas - Youth brings in plenty of qualities to a program. Unfortunately coach Diane Seymour doesn't have the option of picking between the good or the bad.
Inexperience with an almost entire new roster was one reason the Mavs' volleyball team finished 7-23. But a new season springs new hope and optimism, and with what Seymour has seen of her squad in practices and scrimmages she has reason to believe in it.
"I think they're ready to go play someone else," Seymour said of the quality of practices. "I think it looks a lot better than a year ago." UTA had nine freshmen last season, and while the overall record isn't the prettiest thing in the world, junior outside hitter Bianca Sauls said the experience those freshman gained last year only sets up the team for more success this season.
"Last year we had nine freshmen come in and they all have college experience because we graduated five seniors so they had to play," Sauls said. "Our chemistry was still there from last year."
Besides the graduation of those five seniors, Sauls only played in 12 matches last season due to injury. Sauls, a preseason Southland Conference second-team selection, should be able to reverse the outcomes of several close matches that Mavs could of taken last season.
But regardless of the more experienced players and the return of Sauls, the Mavs were still picked to finish fifth in the western division and eighth overall. Seymour doesn't mind the low ranking because she understands the talent her team has.
"We're not surprised where we're ranked because of our finish last year, not because of our athletic ability," Seymour said. "We talked to the girls since they know what the ranking is and they're like that's fine with us, we have nowhere to go but up and we will go up."
It'll be a fairly tough challenge, as the Mavs open with their first seven matches away from the comforting confines of Texas Hall starting Friday against Oral Roberts at the Illinois State Redbird Classic. Sauls doesn't mind it too much though as she thinks on the road is where a young team builds its identity.
"We've been doing a lot of team bonding stuff already with two-a-days," Sauls said. "I think this is going to be interesting to see how we do traveling on the road, so I'm excited."
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