Young team has potential
Published: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 18:08
The women’s volleyball team at UNH has a very bright future. Seven freshmen took up half of the 15-person squad last season to go along with four sophomores.
“Last season, our biggest worry was that with all the new freshman coming in, we wouldn’t blend,” Morgan Thatcher, a captain last season, said. “Luckily, those girls came in, worked their butts off and fit right in.”
“We don’t really look at age around here,” junior Katie Sattora said. “The first-years came in and acted like they belong. We don’t care what your age is, if you can play, you play.”
With such a young influx of talent, head coach Jill Hirschinger is excited to be able to have an offseason with a full squad.
“With only two graduating, we basically have our full team,” Hirschinger said. “Last season during the offseason we had so many new girls coming in and they were already behind. This year, with only two new freshmen coming in, all the girls that are here know what they need to do. Because of it we’ve had a really excellent spring.”
Sophomore Tori Forrest, who played in 112 sets over 29 matches last season, is looking to improve her game and help the team get over the hump.
“I think I just need to be more consistent, work harder and just win,” Forrest said. “With that first year under our belt, I think we can be a lot better. We definitely got better as the season went on, even with all the injuries piling on.”
“I thought we were going to win it all last year,” Hirschinger said. “But you know, things worked out differently. I think we have a great shot to win it this year, just as much as anyone else. The girls continue to put in a lot of work, so we’ll see what happens.”
Thatcher isn’t focusing on what could have been last season. Instead, he’s thinking about how the team can be better.
“Last season was ultimately a failure,” Thatcher said. “We didn’t accomplish our ultimate goal to win the America East Championship. I think to get over that hump, we’ve got to play with swag, play with passion. Last season, the whole team, myself included, got too down on ourselves. You’ve got to believe that you’re best and show it.”
“It kind of started out as a joke, but it’s really become our thing this offseason,” Sattora added. “Playing with passion is important.”
“Last season we played too many games where we were just trying to last,” Forrest said. “Now we’re playing with energy, playing to win. We don’t want to last anymore, we want to win.”
Swagger may be the missing piece for the team as they try to capture their first volleyball title since 2003.
“You can tell the girls they’re good, but unless they believe it, it doesn’t really mean a lot,” Coach Hirschinger said. “Now they have to take that confidence, that swagger, and put it into games and ultimately that will lead to wins.”
Arjuna Ramgopal can be reached on Twitter at @ArjunaRamgopal