MU
Oak Leaves

September 16, 2016 

MU Volleyball Surges after Bump-y Start

Virginia Rendler

Manchester University's women's volleyball is experiencing a bumpy start to its season, losing the MIAA conference earlier this week and its home opener on Sept. 7.
  
That home game against the St. Mary's Belles showed how hard Manchester Spartans fought in some nail-bitingly close matches. The win eventually went to the Belles, 3-1, in sets of 25-23, 27-29, 25-20, and 25-21.
 
In the MIAA conference earlier last week on Sept. 2, the Spartans lost 1-3 against Olivet and lost 1-3 against Albion. On Sept. 3, they lost 0-3 against Kalamazoo and won 3-0 against Waynesburg.
   
This week, Manchester University's women's volleyball team has been focused on uniting its players and learning each other's strengths. "The week is going great; we are a very young team," said junior volleyball player Ally Roskos. "I am excited to see how we will grow as the season continues." 
 
Last year, seven seniors graduated from the team, leaving them with only three upperclassmen. The new players show enormous potential, according to assistant volleyball Sarah Pruden. "Every spot is open to play," Pruden said. "Everyone is so talented that it makes our job harder now trying to pick who's going to start. It's a good problem to have." 

This week has, however, been tough for the Spartans. "We played this weekend; we won 1 out of 4," Pruden said. "The MIAA conference is a very tough conference, so it helps us learn what we need to build on when it comes to our conference games. We fought hard, but it just didn't turn out the way we wanted it to."

However, the Spartans aren't focused only on winning. Pruden says her goal for the season is to become an even closer family. "We want to build a stronger program, have the girls be confident and learn the system,” she said. “Our overall goals are to make it to conference again, win the conference championship, and make it as far as we can."
  
The players’ commitment to their sport is evident in their intense practice schedule. They practice from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. almost every weekday, and they are often gone most of the weekend for away games and conferences.  
"Our greatest challenge is always the beginning of the season, just being on the same page," Roskos said. "All of our high schools ran things differently. We need to learn how everyone plays and be able to adapt to changes."
  
Fans endured sweltering heat in Manchester's Physical Education and Recreation Center to support the girls at the home opener in an impressive turnout for the Spartans, including attendees President Dave McFadden and his wife Renee McFadden."Manchester is a small community, obviously, but we consider ourselves a team," Pruden said. "We are a family. So we can go to each other for anything. We are always there for each other; we always know we are a family."
 
The next home game is Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m. It is the team’s first conference play at home. Visit http://muspartans.com/sports/wvball/index for more information on scores and upcoming events.