By: Chase Gardiner/GCU Staff
On the heels of their second consecutive conference championship, the Grand Canyon University Women’s Club Volleyball team wound up their 2017-18 season in Anaheim, California, at the West Region Challenge, finishing in ninth place.
Although hoping for a higher finish in the last tournament of the season, Lopes’ Head Coach Kristine Naber found plenty of positives to focus on in regards to the future success of her program.
“The West Region Challenge was like an appetizer to what nationals will look like, and how we would compete there when we do have the opportunity, which should be next year,” said Naber. “This tournament was perfect for us in terms of helping us to find out what kind of team we need to have to best represent the university.”
In order for the Lopes to be best prepared for next season, Naber pointed out the need for improvement in some key areas.
“Something that really struck me was the consistency of our play on our side of the net and controlling unforced errors, which I felt at times put us in a position that had us playing catch up,” explained Naber. “We also need to get better at competing in the 20s, and closing out close games.”
While these unforced errors proved costly this time around, Naber was optimistic that her team’s knowledge in areas such as this was well on its way to improving.
“Our IQ of the game has gotten better as a whole program, and we want to continue building off of that,” explained Naber. “By bringing in athletes that have high volleyball IQs, while also having current athletes continue to grow and become more knowledgeable, we can fix these things.”
By cleaning up these areas before next season, Naber has plenty of faith that her team can become a true powerhouse.
“We have what it takes to finish in the top in the Southwest,” noted Naber. “It was very eye-opening to witness a different type of volleyball, and to see where we want to have the program grow in the next few years.”
With hindsight being 20/20, Naber knows that although her team lost this time, plenty of great things are still to come.
“It was a great opportunity that we were provided to travel and compete in this tournament, and start paving the way in different parts of the country, to start growing GCU’s name.”
Interested in joining the women’s volleyball team? Contact the coach to learn more!