Marquette Mailbag is a weekly feature in the GoMarquette.com Social Summer Series
Marquette Volleyball Head Coach Bond Shymansky joined us for "Marquette Mailbag" this week, answering your questions on last year's NCAA Tournament run and the outlook for the 2012 season.
on a great 2011 season! Does this year's
team have the talent to make a run for an NCAA bid?
- R. Hide, North Lake
A: We have plenty of returning talent in our starting lineup, and we are adding some new players that have skill and athleticism. I look for big contribution from our four senior starters, and our returning back row players. They have been working hard this offseason to refine their skills, and remain in top physical condition. Our goal and focus now become the Sweet Sixteen and beyond. Each year we have gone a little further, and tasted a little more success. This year's team will peak at the right time... tournament time.
Q: What type of
experience was it for last year's squad to make the program's first NCAA
- Jim, Wauwatosa
A: Every single moment of that experience was charged with energy and excitement. It was a non-stop adrenaline rush and I thought our team handled it very well, and harnessed that energy as competitors. The best part is that they are hungry for more. They understand what it takes, and what they have to do to go further in the NCAA tournament. I am tremendously proud of how far we have come, but we will be relentless in our pursuit of higher achievement.
Q: Losing 2 of
your most proficient offensive players from last season is tough. Of the newcomers to the team, who do you
think will be the most likely to come in and help fill the loss of Jones and
- Rob, Milwaukee
A: Replacing two All-BIG EAST outside hitters in no small task. Lindsey Gosh is a sophomore outside who showed improvement and progress this past spring season. She has the dynamic capability to be a terminator for us this season. We will also have three other players battling for an outside hitter spot. Erin Lehman is a freshman, Casey Read a returning junior, and Eva-Lotta Raat is the unknown freshman from Estonia. We are confident that two starters will emerge and help us win a BIG EAST title.
Q: What does a
"libero" do and what's the history behind the position?
- Allen, Harbor Springs, MI
A: The "libero" is a player relegated to the back row only. She cannot hit or block in the front row. The position was adopted by the college game about eight years ago, and it has increased the ability to have long rallies. The "libero" position has allowed the smaller athlete a bigger role in the game of volleyball. She is always in the back row, and is usually the best serve receive passer and digger. We are lucky to have a libero like Julie Jeziorowski on our squad!
the departure of Chelsea Heier for Santa Clara University, how does it affect
the development of the other players on the team to have to get used to a brand
new setter for the second straight season? Can we expect to see both Mary
Nilles and Elizabeth Koberstein on the court this season?
- Anonymous Eagle, Parts Unknown
A: Chelsea heading back to her home state of California was an understandable decision, and she has chosen another fantastic Jesuit institution. The setter is like the quarterback, so timing and feel are important to have an offense like ours run smoothly. I'm sure there will be some kinks to iron out, but I am confident that we have two great choices in Nilles and Koberstein. We may play both setters during the course of the season, but it is more likely that one will emerge as the starter. I prefer not to have a carousel of setters, but I know those two will battle for the spot all season long.
Q: What's the
biggest challenge you have had to overcome in order to be a D-I Head Coach?
What advice would you give someone who wants to coach volleyball at this level?
- James, Spartanburg, S.C.
A: The biggest challenge I will actually NEVER overcome, and that's learning how to connect and develop trust with each individual player. I am always growing and changing, and the players are too. Just when I think I have something figured out, new players join the program with new personalities and temperaments. That challenge also has the best rewards, and is what makes coaching fun. If your goal is to be a D-1 coach, the best thing you can do is earn your degree, and then get involved with a D-1 program as a volunteer coach. That experience will give you a real taste for what it's all about, and a chance to network in our coaching community. Good luck with your coaching career!
Q: You have
overseen a quick transformation in Marquette's success recently. What do you
think has been the reason for that?
- Ben, Libertyville, Ill.
A: The biggest reason for our turnaround is Marquette itself. This is a great university with amazing people. Everything and everybody surrounding our program helps breed success. We have student-athletes on our team who recognize and appreciate the opportunities they have here at Marquette University. It is evident when I see our team GPA, our campus community involvement, and our success on the court.
Q: I have been
to the Al McGuire Center for plenty of basketball games and am thinking of
coming out for a few volleyball matches this year. How does the facility to
compare to others around the country for volleyball?
- Kate, Stevens Point
A: The Al is clearly one of the best volleyball venues in the nation. There may be a few volleyball arenas as nice, but nobody has one better than the Al. The building is beautiful, the court is first-class, and it is always a big-time college sporting event. Students can have a big impact on our opponent by being loud and crazy, and families love the atmosphere and value. The Al McGuire Center is a major draw for recruiting, and a huge home court advantage.
Check back on Monday, July 16 to learn next week's featured guest.