The Spartans Club Volleyball team was hard at work this past Thursday night (as they do on Wednesday and Sunday nights as well) in the Kaplan Center on the edge of UNCG’s campus, running through various plays and practice rounds on the volleyball court. The club’s president – Heather Morton – was interviewed about the team and her thoughts on the coming season.
When asked about how she felt about this year’s team and it’s overall effectiveness, Morton confidently replied:
“I feel that we [the volleyball club] are the best we’ve ever been and we plan to go to Nationals in Kansas City Missouri this year.”
The confidence that Morton displayed in talking about her team isn’t baseless – the team won the NC State tournament last semester and came in second place out of twenty teams at their home tournament. The Nationals that Morton is referring to will take place from April 13-15 and will be broadcast on ESPN3. This is a chance that does not come about too often, either – the Spartans attending the tournament happens roughly once every four years. When asked to clarify this statement (more specifically, how this year’s team differs from past teams) she elaborated:
“We have several new athletes. We have four former NCAA athletes, and both teams are all-around great.”
The Spartans Volleyball Club is made up of two twelve player teams: Blue and Gold (which is fitting as those are the school colors) for a total of twenty four players along with a group of practice players, who are picked at the beginning of each semester and attend the Sunday practices that focus on building up various skills needed in the game.
When further asked about the Lady Spartans game/tournament schedule, Morton said:
“We have a tournament coming up on February 4 and a few more [tournaments] later this semester.”
The tournament that she is referring to as being on Feb 4 will be held at UNC Chapel Hill, with another being held three weeks later (February 25 at the Kaplan center here on UNCG’s campus).
When the topic of the team’s strengths were brought up, Morton said:
“We have good hitters, setters, and passers – we just play really well as a team and that really helps.”
The three positions that she mentioned – the hitters, the setters, and the passers – are three of the main positions on a volleyball team, and their names are pretty self-explanatory – however, setters can be thought of as being like the quarterback of the volleyball team, as they are arguably the most important team member, so the skill of a setter can make or break a team. The team also has a “libero”, whose job it is to pick up any possible points that the opponents might get by sending the ball to the back of the court, and are therefore mostly defensive players. They can be thought of as the goalies, if you will. If you ever watch a volleyball game, the libero is the player that is wearing a different color from the rest of the team and standing in the back of the court.
The new make-up of the team (the combination of new and old players, that is) is also something of a double-edged sword, because, as Morton pointed out when asked about anything that the team needs to work on before the season starts:
“[We need to] get to know the players better, and we need to get into grove with the new players on our team. ”
When asked for any final thoughts for the interview, Morton expressed her pride in her team and her excitement for the coming season, especially the tournaments (two of which ware happening within a month from now) and Nationals, coming up in April.