Inside and outside the Missouri Western Womenâ€™s Volleyball team has been preparing themselves both psychically and mentally for a grueling 2006 season.
The votes are in and the Western women were ranked at No. 7 in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Preseason Coaches Poll. The Lady Griffons finished with a record of 17-15 record overall and a 7-9 record with the MIAA placing them at the No. 7 slot.
They will mark the beginning of the much anticipated season by traveling to Memphis, Tenn., in order to participate in the Christian Brothers Tournament on Aug. 25-26.
Leading the way is freshly named head coach Kyprian â€œKypâ€ Harasymowycz. Former head coach Cindy Brauck stepped down from her position due to illness in May of 2006, which as a result, moved Harasymowycz from assistant to head coach. He took on the position
knowing that he would have to fill some pretty big shoes, and now shines new hope into the eyes of all the girls on the team.
â€œFor the goals that weâ€™ve set- we would like to finish third in the conference [with] 20 wins and make the NCAA,â€ Harasymowycz said. â€œIf we do the things that weâ€™re suppose to than we should be able to reach our goals.â€
Harasymowycz boldly takes his strides as the new coach by modifying the traditional 5-1 formation the Griffons are familiar with to a 6-2 formation, which consists of two setters instead of one.
â€œRunning a 6-2 makes us a little bit taller and a little bit more athletic than we were last fall,â€ Harasymowycz said. â€œTo come out of the blocks right away and be ready to play is the most important part of our plan.â€
Harasymowycz contributes one of the reasons for switching to the new formation is because he has three setters and wide range of versatility with them.
â€œThe girls have worked really hard to make sure they learn, and learn how to win,â€ Harasymowycz said.
He has had a very positive influence on the attitude and atmosphere within the volleyball circle. Junior and Captain Alyssa Berg shares the same ideas and goals with her coach when it comes to NCAA play and the 20 wins needed to get them there.
â€œHe is making a lot of changes this year that I think will take this program even further than it has gone in the past,â€ Berg said.
Berg will take on the position of a right side hitter, which is change from the middle position she played last season. Berg feels that an important part of her contribution to the team is setting a good example during practices as well as on game day.
â€œI want to help my team by doing my job on the court so then it will be easier for everyone else to do theirs,â€ Berg said. â€œOverall, we have a great group of girls on and off the court, and Iâ€™m excited to start the season.â€