This is an entry in my volleyball coaching log for the 2021-22 season for the Medaille College men.

After one last non-conference match, it was on to conference play this week.


We had a couple of guys who had to miss practice for various reasons, plus another couple of guys who were banged up and could use more recovery time. That being the case, we didn’t practice. I had them review the match we played against Wells (last week) as homework. In part it was to scout for our rematch coming up. It also served as an opportunity to see how we can cut down on the huge number of errors we’ve been making.

So what did I do instead? Well, recruiting stuff, of course. I had to re-stat our Sage match from Saturday so we could get those numbers right for the box score. Also had to do some video work getting stuff from the weekend up in VolleyMetrics, which the conference uses for video exchange.


We were still missing a couple of guys, and only one MB for about 45 minutes. As a result, we were limited on what we could do. I focused the session on serving and pin hitting and blocking.


It was our first home match of the year and the re-match against Wells. We won, but not without some struggles. The most notable was that our setter had to come out for a spell at the back end of the 2nd set and during the first part of the third because of a physical issue. We managed to finish off a fairly dominant 2nd set performance without him, but struggled to start the 3rd. That put us in a hole we couldn’t dig out of, even when he was back.

Overall, this match went the way the first one probably should have. The sets we won were 19, 15, 16. We hit for a .320 efficiency, while keeping the other team to .026. Could have done with fewer errors, especially some of the “that ball needed to be in type”. Our block gave up too many hard swings around it when we should have had a strong double block in place. So definitely room for improvement.

We also missed more serves than we should have. It was only 16 (compared to 19 over 3 sets the first time we played them). That’s not a terrible number in the men’s game for 4 sets. Considering, though, that our opponents at best only got kills at about a 38% rate, we probably should have just put every ball in play. The percentages would have been in our favor.

Thursday & Friday

With a couple of guys banged up after our match, I changed our practice into a video session. We started by reviewing some of the Wells match. Then we moved on to looking at Saturday’s opposition.

Friday’s largest focus for practice was actually allowing a guy with an injury to go through things so the trainer could look at him in different ways. Not exactly the way you’d want to prepare for competition the next day, but it had to happen.

Match vs Geneva

The first match of our conference season was against Geneva College, who was host of our weekend tri-match. They were tied with us for 2nd in the conference in the 2021 season, but lost in the conference tournament semi-finals. We had a handful of common opponents in the non-conference season, with similar results.

We took a tight first set, but couldn’t repeat that. The final result was a 3-1 defeat. Our two MBs were strong in the attack, with both hitting at least .500. The problem was our pins. Two of them had double-doubles, but not a good kind. They had double digit kills, but also double digit errors. The other hit negative, with 5 kills against 6 errors. Add in 16 service errors and you can see how we could lose even while getting more points (61 vs 57).

Match vs. Penn State – Altoona

The second match of our tri-match was against Penn State-Altoona. They were 5th in the conference in 2021, but made the conference tournament when we couldn’t compete because of covid. We only had one shared opponent in the non-conference segment, so not a lot to make a comparison.

We had one of our best offensive sets of the season in the 2nd of this match. As a team, we hit nearly .500, with 16 kills against just 2 errors. Not surprisingly, we won that one, 25-20. Unfortunately, we weren’t nearly as strong in the others. Still, aside from a period in the 3rd where one of their guys had his serve really clicking, we were competitive. Even in the 4th set, when I had to replace my setter and a middle with DSs, we still managed to battle enough to make it respectable at 25-20.

Coming up

This week we have an away match nearby in the Buffalo area, then one of the longer road trips of the year on Saturday for another tri-match.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Talent Strategy Manager (oversees the national teams) and Indoor Performance Director for Volleyball England, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His volleyball coaching experience includes all three NCAA divisions, plus Junior College, in the US; university and club teams in the UK; professional coaching in Sweden; and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. He's also been a visiting coach at national team, professional club, and juniors programs in several countries. Learn more on his bio page.

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