Manchester University
Oak Leaves

September 15, 2019

Lauren Gandhi sets for Samantha Campbell (Bridget Nash)

Lauren Gandhi sets the ball for Samantha Campbell.

Photo provided by Bridget Nash

Volleyball Sets the Season Off Right

Carlos Argueta


Manchester’s volleyball team ramped up their season two weeks ago in Michigan with big dreams and expectations on the line for this year.

The volleyball program is going through a new cycle with most of the program consisting of freshmen and sophomores. Many of these players are coming from different parts of Indiana and neighboring states eager to contribute their skills to the Manchester team.

Many young inexperienced collegiate teams struggle to compete with more seasoned teams, but this squad is confident that they can be successful, believing they are a tough opponent to face. “I think it’s going to be a great year,” said Halle Plank, first year. “I’m really excited to watch us all mesh together and to see what happens.”

The team is still in the process of finding their rhythm with upperclassmen filling up leadership roles, while the first years adapt to college volleyball. “I think it’s been an adjustment for them for sure,” said Ivan Matos, head coach. “I think the game is a little bit more aggressive and faster than they’re used to. But they have the talent to adjust accordingly and be successful at this level.

“We are just trying to build a lot of chemistry with some of our returners and our incoming first years because we have a lot of freshmen that are playing right away,” Matos continued.

Part of Manchester’s strength may lie in its defense and blockers. “Our service team and our defense has been a key this year, and our blockers are nice and tall which makes us excited for this year,” said Anna Marie Lawrie, senior.

With new young players, the team is still finding a definitive line-up and is continuing to work together to adapt to each other play and style. They seek to improve their transition game from attacking to defending, while not being hesitant of hitting the ball and giving golden strike opportunities. “It’s just understanding that there are no moments of hesitation,” Matos said. “You have to be aggressive in attacking the ball because at this level you cannot be giving any free balls.”

So far, the volleyball team has traveled to two different invitationals in Michigan and Chicago. The group started out the season with two wins against Wilmington (Ohio) and Blackburn while falling to Kalamazoo College, Adrian College and Albion College. The team will play Kalamazoo College again on the road Sept.18, then host an invitational Sept. 20 and Sept. 21 at home. They will begin to fight for a position in the postseason which starts Oct.15, against Rose-Hulman, also at home.