Huskies Serve Up First Practice Of 2012
Aug. 8, 2012
SEATTLE - The first practice of the 2012 Husky volleyball season is in the books. If this was a perfect world, today would be the worst performance of the year, because Head Coach Jim McLaughlin wants progress on a daily basis from the sixteen players on the roster. Still, if day one was the low point, good things should be in store for the fall.
"Relative to first practices," said McLaughlin, "it was a good one. We got a little bit better, and we have a long ways to go. But the capabilities are there, and we're moving in the right direction after day one. The challenge will be that we've got to be better in day two."
Washington reported to campus for the first time on Tuesday, with the five freshmen checking in to McCarty Hall bright and early at 8 a.m. where they will remain until closer to the start of the quarter when they will move into their permanent rooms.
The team then got their first set of apparel and gear, and moved on to a meeting with the athletic training staff. Another briefing on social media was conducted before lunch, and then it was time for team photos and a long video shoot that Husky fans can check the results of on the new video boards going up in Alaska Airlines Arena. The day ended with a team dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant.
Work began in earnest this morning at 10 a.m. with passing and serve practice. After lunch the Dawgs were back in the gym from 2-5 p.m. Emphasis early this morning was on the basic arm and feet movements in passing, with Coach McLaughlin stressing the importance of positioning and reacting to the ball.
"I liked how some of the players are playing outside of themselves a little more, and bringing more to the floor. I really appreciate that," said McLaughlin. "Some of them are pretty humble, quiet kids, and it's a sacrifice for them but they're doing it. I thought that was really good."
The five new freshmen seemed to find their way around the court just fine today. Setter Katy Beals, middle blockers Lianna Sybeldon and Melanie Wade, defensive specialist Justice Magraw, and "athlete" Cassie Strickland all got their first taste of college volleyball today.
Strickland, signed as a defensive player but an outside hitter in high school, had some big swings in a three on three drill at the end of practice, and at the end of the day the debate was what color shirt she would wear on Thursday--the specific shirt for liberos or the same color as the rest of the team. Sybeldon and Wade received a lot of extra time at the end of the practice sessions working with assistant coach Keno Gandara on blocking movements.
"The first thing Keno said to me after practice is these (freshmen) can make changes. That's the deal, that you can make improvements and learn how to use your mind, tap into these drills and know what you're supposed to do, and know what your body is doing. I was satisfied with what I saw" McLaughlin said of the freshmen. "They'll get there because of the type of kids that they are."
Time now for the Huskies to make Thursday the best day yet.