Just two weeks separate Northwestern State volleyball from the start of the 2019 season.
While the focus in preseason practice hasn’t yet completely shifted to that opening weekend at Arkansas, the Lady Demons have made quick progress through the first nine days of training.
“We talked about how we were going to start doing some fundamentals and build from there,” Head Coach Sean Kiracofe said. “But it’s an experienced group and the two freshmen have jumped in and really played at a high level. Which is what we were hoping they would do, and they did that really early.
“So we advanced pretty quickly and are into a lot of game play and it’s already to the point where we’ve done enough that we’re starting to scale back on practices. Give them a little more rest so when we come out here they are 100 percent and going hard. We’re getting some high level stuff at high speeds.”
Before their first test of the new season at Arkansas on August 30, the Lady Demons will play an exhibition match at UL Monroe on August 24. Prior to the 2018 season NSU hosted Louisiana Tech in their first preseason exhibition match after a NCAA rule change that allowed for such matches to occur. The Lady Demons won that match over Tech, 3-1 (25-19, 25-15, 24-26, 25-20).
While a smaller roster this year has made it a challenge for Kiracofe to get as much 6-on-6 work in practice, the competitiveness of the team has still shone through.
“I think the competition this year is unlike what it was last year,” sophomore setter Skylar Besch said. “When we’re on the court and playing against each other it’s super competitive but the second we come off the court we’re all best friends. I think it’s really good that we can separate playing on and off the court and how we act towards each other.”
It’s not just kills, blocks, and digs that the Lady Demons are battling for. Between sessions on the court the friendly competition has improved team chemistry and sparked a lot of creativity.
Earlier in the week the “Silver Fox” group, made up of Cayman Sutton, Bryce Potter, and Besch won the lip-sync challenge, while “Sugar Land” (Kourtney Seaton, Darria Williams, and Addison McDermott) won the native dish challenge with chili cheese fries and chicken ‘n waffles.
“We try to keep it as entertaining an environment as we can during practice and in between,” Kiracofe said. “This group is fun to be around and they’re creative and it’s funny. I think we have a great environment in the gym and the program overall.”
The Lady Demons continue their work and creative gamesmanship over the next week before their first action, against someone other than themselves, as the countdown to opening weekend in Arkansas rolls on.
Stay connected to Northwestern State volleyball by following @NSUDemonsVB on Twitter or Instagram.