The OCU Women’s Volleyball team recently received top rankings in preseason polls.
The team is ranked No. 1 out of the 10 teams in their conference. These high rankings put the team on the radar for nationals in December said Junior Outside Hitter Stefani Nell. The team’s goal this year is to pull play at the national tournament, while also winning some games there said Head Coach Kyle Steele.
“Setting realistic goals is important to us for this year,” Steele said. “And I think that’s a very reachable goal for us.” The women lost five seniors last year, including an All-American, and have no seniors this year. But they gained three new teammates to fill the gaps. While their high rankings are important, Steele said he and his team also pride themselves on being very culturally diverse.
“We have three international students, a student from Hawaii, from California, from Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and kind of all over. Bringing that many cultures into one gym is pretty cool, especially students that come from thousands of miles away, they always bring a different dynamic.” Steele said.
The season officially started on August 26th at the Missouri Valley Tournament in Marshall, Missouri. The women played four teams, and won three out of the four matches. Since the season begins in August, the women only had two weeks to prepare as a team before their first tournament.
“There were moments where we were all in sync and we played incredible volleyball,” Junior Outside Hitter Stefani Nell said. “The fact that we had moments like that, after only two weeks of playing together, makes me really excited and hopeful for this season.”
The team watches film of themselves and other teams, breaks down their assets and flaws, and decides what needs to be changed and fixed to prepare for future matches.
“Overall we are working on holding each other and ourselves to a high standard while playing aggressive and smart volleyball,” Nell said.
Conference play began Sept. 7. The Stars are 2-0 for the season, after defeating St. Gregory’s and USAO.