Lady Saints dominate preseason competition

A week into their season, and the Lady Saints are undefeated (5-0) and have a conference win under their belts against Barton (3-1). Stats also show some outstanding playing from the team as they advance into their season. Preseason has proved to be a determining factor for the rest of the season for the Lady Saints. The team has been taking full advantage of their preseason momentum to start off the volleyball season. Coach Bert Luallen has high expectations for his team due to their exceptional capabilities. Luallen explained that, of course, every coach shoots to do better than the previous year, but he’s also set a high goal of a 30-win season for his team. By the looks of it, it is mightily reflected in their preseason tenacity that they are more than capable of doing so. It might be the first week of the season but the Lady Saints are already 4-0 overall, and have lost only two sets to Otero. Luallen blames “first game nerves and jitters,” and shared that the team was struggling for those two sets, but pulled out a win in the third set and gained some momentum and then dominated from there on out. “We pretty much dominated everybody we played,” Luallen said about his interchangeable team. He explained that the team was focused and dedicated and that he could sub team members in and out for a breather and would lose no momentum on the court. A talented team can make a coach’s job easier, but Luallen hesitated when asked to single out a player to look out for over the season. “There’s a bunch of them,” Luallen said, “that’s one of the exciting things about this team.” Several, if not all of the women on the team, were described as good, powerful and good at doing their job. To put things into perspective, Carolina Gasparini and Thayna Silva are returning players this year, and their freshman year both were awarded First Team, All Region, Outside Hitters back-to-back. They were both also three-time Jayhawk Conference Players of the Week, and Silva even received National Player of the Week her freshman year. Individually, team members have also been stepping up, and Luallen explained that there’s a balance that keeps the team from falling behind. Balance is going to be crucial over the next couple of weeks due to the fact that the first 22 matches of the season only include one match at home. Although, the team not only has new players, it also has a new assistant coach. Thais Baziquetto-Allen is “very intense,” according to Luallen. “She has a lot of passion for the game and she has a lot of passion for her teaching, too.” Luallen explained that the team appreciates the passion coming from Baziquetto, because it’s to help them be better. Luallen also described Baziquetto as “very knowledgeable about the sport,” and said that she knows what needs to be done. “She’s a passionate individual,” Luallen said, “she’s very dedicated, she’s a professional, and she exhibits that in the things that she does.” As the season advances, Luallen looks forward to the team’s conference games and shared that if the team can get through the first rounds of conference games against Barton, Colby and Hutchinson, they will have “a really good chance to do well.” It also helps, Luallen explained, that the women on the team all have high expectations of themselves and of each other. The Lady Saints won’t have many home games until October, and Luallen would like to encourage students and faculty to come out and watch a match or two. Admissions to all sports games are free to students and faculty, but students should bring their ID cards with them just in case. A rowdy crowd sometimes forms on the east side of the gym, and in the past, has really helped the Lady Saints to stay intense and on their toes. Any support or encouragement from fans is highly appreciated.

 

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Freshman Alex Wood and sophomore Carolina Freitas celebrate a score at their home tournament last week. -Crusader photo/Diana Chavira