April 30, 2009
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - Southern Illinois University Edwardsville volleyball coach Todd Gober and his Cougars enjoyed another successful spring season. With four key seniors having finished this past fall, the Cougars are looking forward to the 2009 fall season with a young team trying to better the Cougars' 13-14 record from last season.
SIUE finished with a 7-2 overall match record, including 3-0 sweeps over Ohio Valley Conference rivals UT Martin and Murray State. The Cougars also won 21 of 25 sets this spring.
Coach Gober talks about the spring season below.
Q: What were you trying to accomplish with the spring season?
A: Our goals this spring included three things: improve individual skills, improve chemistry, and evaluate what our strengths and weaknesses are for next year. We accomplished all three goals, and I am very excited about who we have returning next year and have a better idea of what we need from our incoming players.
Q: Did anyone stand out for you this spring?
A: Several individuals stood out this spring. Brittni Birkey had a tremendous spring and has really settled into a leadership role and an outside hitter position. She has played her entire career as a middle and got her first exposure to the outside hitter position last fall. This spring she was able to work on her footwork and shots, improving tremendously. Karie Downing also had an impressive spring. She transferred to us this spring from Indian Hills Community College and got a head start on lifting, transition footwork, and blocking. She should be ready in the fall. And really our entire team had a very productive, successful spring. Everyone played well, and I believe all improved their skills.
Q: Any surprises from anyone?
A: Sydney Winslow, after a slow start, really stepped it up the last week. She started slow because she was still playing basketball and missed the majority of our spring workouts. She is such a tremendous talent though that once she started back with us on a regular basis she caught up quickly. I also thought Tiffany Turner did a great job with some of the new defensive schemes we were working on, and I'm hopeful this speeds our adoption of some of these strategies in the fall.
Q: Have you set goals for next season?
A: Yes we have. We want to build on the great season we had last fall. A .500 record is our first goal, and while optimistic given our schedule and the number of road matches we play, it is reachable. We tried to schedule as many OVC (Ohio Valley Conference) schools as possible to give us a better idea of the level of play in our conference. Our goal is to do well against OVC schools.