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

Coming into the final week of the regular season, here’s what the conference standings looked like.

The big result from the prior week was PS-Behrend beating Alfred State. That almost certainly locked up the top seed for the conference tournament for Behrend. It means they will host the semis and finals.

Monday

After talking a bit about the scouting for the next day’s match, I had the players warm-up their shoulders with a serving progression. We then did a continuous 3v3 type game similar to the one I’ve been using where the players get points by sending the ball to Zone 1. From there, we did Flip-Switch. Then, because we expected to see a decent topspin jump serve on Tuesday, I had one of my male assistants hit a few of those are our reception. After that, to get in some game-play action, I had them play Player Winners. The players asked to do some hitting lines, so that’s how we finished things.

Tuesday

We traveled to Erie, PA to play Penn State-Behrend. From what I’ve seen in the Pablo and Massey ratings, they’re likely to be the second strongest team we play this year, falling behind only RIT. It was their Senior Night – featuring 7 seniors! – so we had a bit of waiting around before the match actually started. While the scores didn’t end up being all that close (18, 18, 14), they don’t really tell the story of the match. We battled well and kept Behrend well below their season average Hitting %. We just made too many hitting errors.

By the way, it’s worth noting that Behrend played a middle-up defense. Don’t see it very often, but it can be quite effective with the right personnel.

Wednesday

Planned day off from practice this day.

Thursday

We started off with the To-1 game, which at least some of the players were quite excited to play. I think they like the tempo. Just wish they were more efficient getting through it. The attacking might have been the strongest I’ve seen all season, though. I had them do some serving after that where they focused on their strong serve. We then played a collective scoring version of Speedball (2 pairs per side) on a narrow court. They played straight-up 4 v 4 after that to finish things up.

Friday

Last practice of the season. I let the players pick what we did throughout. Not surprisingly, there was a lot of Queen of the Court type stuff, with Brazilian mixed in. There was a lot of silliness.

Saturday

We wrapped up the season with a long road trip down to Pitt-Greensburg. Since both of us were 1-6 coming in, this match was to decide who finished 7th (out of 9). From the scouting, it was a very winnable match. We definitely didn’t play our best, though. One of the players was clearly not feeling 100% and it came through in her energy level. Others had confidence issues. There was bickering on the court at times. Definitely, not the way you want to close out the season.

Despite the lack of energy and positive mentality, we still had a chance to win. We dropped the first two sets with a lot of help from missed serves – many of which ended in the net. We got that sorted out in the 3rd and 4th, which we won with the help of several aces. Serving again wasn’t great in the 5th, and not surprisingly, we lost.

The kind of crazy thing is that multiple players had personal bests in this match. That includes our setter who had her best tally in Assists, Kills, and Points, plus matched her personal best in Aces.

Looking forward

I’ll do a season recap post when I’ve had some time to let things settle a bit. We should find out about any All-Conference type awards for individual players next week.

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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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