This is an entry in my volleyball coaching log for the 2020-21 season for both the men and women.

The term break is over and second term classes start tomorrow, so it’s time for the Medaille Volleyball program to swing back into action! But first, a recap of what’s happened over the last 6 weeks.

Player stuff

First semester grades came in. The women’s team did really well, with an overall team average GPA of 3.5 (4.0 scale). All but two of them made the Dean’s List, which requires a 3.5. The guys weren’t quite so strong with a 2.99 average GPA. Definitely room for improvement there.

Recruiting

We had our first verbal commitment on December 15th in the form of a women’s setter from Canada. This was a very good get for us. She’s the caliber of player I could easily see myself recruiting at my prior stops in Division I and II.

Our second commitment came two days later from an attacker out of Illinois – also for the women’s team. She can hit all across the front row. Which position she’ll fill for us will get decided down the line, but it looks like she’ll be mainly playing middle for her club team this season.

We got our third women’s commitment last week – a pin hitter from Canada. She was a bit of a surprise in terms of how quickly things progressed. The funny thing is she joins the other two in going into the Veterinary Technology program.

And quickly thereafter, our fourth women’s commit came in from Texas in the form of a MB/RS. She’s only a verbal at this point. The other three have all made it official by posting their tuition deposits. Also, this one is going sports management. She wants to get into coaching.

Unfortunately, no movement on the men’s side to report at this point.

Spring Scheduling

Our conference announced on December 22 a continued intention to make a men’s season happen, but that we won’t have a women’s season this year. That doesn’t rule out the women playing some matches. They would just have to be close-by.

We got an update at the beginning of this month with respect to the women. Essentially, it said we could have an 8-week season. During that time we could go no more than 5 days per week, and we could play upwards of 6 matches (3 home/3 away) within 2 hours travel. The first match could be on February 24th following 3 weeks of practice. The first week of that practice would only be allowed to include 4 non-consecutive days as part of the NCAA re-socialization process.

Upon consultations with my staff, and getting player input, I decided that we would have a training-only semester. We just don’t have the personnel to play official matches at this point. As a result, we’ll start a training-only regimen on February 24th.

On the men’s side we were told the first week of January that we could schedule 2 non-conference matches to add to our 7-match conference slate. Basically, the idea is to make sure we have the necessary 11 minimum to qualify for the NCAA tournament. The additional two matches would come from the conference tournament semis and final.

After consultation with the team, we decided to play Daemen and D’Youville as our two non-conference matches. Both are NCAA Division II teams here in Buffalo. Daemen started it’s men’s program a few years back. D’Youville has had a team for a bit longer, but until this year was in Division III in our conference. I liked the idea of playing them both in our pre-conference schedule as ways to test ourselves and gauge our progress.

Fall Scheduling

I added a 2-day tournament to the women’s schedule for the October weekend we had off from conference play. I had originally thought to leave that one open, but thought it might be a good idea to have those matches in the calendar at that point. The team is going to be so inexperienced that they will probably benefit from them. Also, it’s an opportunity to give non-starters some playing time during part of the season they tend not to get very much.

There’s the additional issue of struggling to find a tournament to play in on the 4th weekend of September. Not many options within a reasonable distance. Could be that we leave that one open. We’ll see if something doable comes up down the line, though.

In other news

Perhaps foolishly, I agreed to teach the Sports Marketing at Medaille class this term. It’s possible all the work I’m going to need to do for that, plus running two teams and all the other usual stuff, will kill me. If I suddenly stop posting, you’ll know what happened.

Looking forward

Since the men are going to be in-season from this week on I’m going to shifting separate log entries for the two teams. I’ll probably go weekly for the guys while the women will be more ad hoc. Things will get more active with them in late February when they’ll be able to start training.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Men's & Women's Head Volleyball Coach at Medaille College, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy (formerly Charleston Academy). His previous experience includes the college and university level in the US and UK, professional coaching in Sweden, and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. Learn more on his bio page.

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