The Keene State volleyball team is off to their best start of the season in the history of the program. As of Saturday, Sept. 16, the girls are 11-0.
While the girls are thrilled with their record thus far, they aren’t afraid of losing either. Both Coach Bob Weiner and middle blocker Kali Sequeira agreed that if the team lost a game, that it is okay.
“If you lose a match, that doesn’t mean you’re not a good team,” said Weiner.
Sequeira is a first-year player on the team and said she is not scared of any other teams.
“We have this really good record and it would be a shame to let it go, but if we were 8-1, I wouldn’t be mad about it,” said Sequeira.
Weiner has been coaching the volleyball team at Keene State College for 13 years and said he has high hopes that the girls will make it to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament, which has not happened since 2008.
“This is a good team; I believe this team can do anything they set their minds to do. We’ve got kids with skill and everyone’s got each other’s back,” said Weiner.
In order to get to the NCAA Tournament, the team has to win the majority of their conference games, where they would then move to the semifinals. Following the semifinals, the team would then advance to the LEC Championship, where, if they won, they would earn a spot to play in the NCAA Tournament.
“The idea of a non-conference season is to gain experience working together so when we are playing conference games, we’ve already done the work together and know what it feels like,” said Weiner.
Rachel Lamica is one of the senior and captains for the team, and recently got her 1,000th kill at the game on Sept. 14. Lamica said she hopes to lead her team to the NCAA Tournament by staying as positive as possible.
“It’s all about working hard and playing hard this year,” Lamica said.
She also stressed the importance of “playing for every single point.”
Attitude is important to any team sport. Sequeira said the team’s positive attitude is a big factor to their winning streak.
“Of course, everyone gets down when we are down a few points, but the team is really able to get goofy or really revved up and get that momentum back,” said Sequeira.
As captain of the team, Lamica said that, “Even if we don’t end up being undefeated, I want to be able to pick everyone back up.”
Sequeira said practice is another important aspect to winning games.
“We do drills that are helpful and if we are having trouble with something in a game, it will translate into something we do in practice.”
For example, Sequeira said if the defensive players accidently bump the ball into the net, they will work on getting net balls up in practice. Weiner said the girls this year are a self-motivated group. The captains and Weiner will meet and discuss helpful methods.
“The captains say this is what we want and I’m not threatened by that,” said Weiner.
The captains also let the coach know which drills work and which one’s don’t.
“They’re really good at being that sort of mediator,” said Sequeira.
The last time the volleyball team maintained this high of a winning streak was in 2008, where they won 12 consecutive games.
Weiner said, “Maybe we’ll do that and if we don’t, that’s fine; if we lose somewhere along the way, we can’t let that affect us. We’re still a good team.”
Izzy Harris can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org