by Emily Honeycutt – Staff Writer – [email protected]
A young UNC Asheville women’s volleyball team suffered losses against tough competition at the Gamecock Invitational at the University of South Carolina last weekend.
“This is a different group from last year, and the challenges of putting a group together to compete are huge,” said Frederico Santos, the head coach of women’s volleyball.
The team lost the four matches they played at the Gamecock Invitational, but Santos said they do not measure improvement based on a win or a loss.
“We look for different things like chemistry, trust, how we handle pressure and adverse situations within a match,” Santos said.
Senior Holly Shelton had 19 kills in the match against East Tennessee State University, according to a press release on the UNCA Bulldogs website.
The release also said freshman Christine Lakatos had eight kills and eight digs, and freshmen setter Katie Davis had 45 assists and nine digs in the same match.
Santos said the biggest difference from last season is in the number of players, and he expects tremendous growth within the team this year.
“We have a freshmen class that is basically the size of our returning class. Our challenge will be in creating a cohesive unit on the floor, and this takes time, but so far everything is going well.”
Freshman Catherine Fischer feels the team had already made important strides over the course of the tournament.
“When we played South Carolina, our communication, energy and focus had improved tremendously from the first few matches of the weekend,” she said.
The losses this weekend did not deter the team’s goals, Santos said.
“What I emphasize to them is that this is a process, and we have to embrace the process and be patient with the process to get the desired results,” Santos said.
Santos said in the press release that the tournament was beneficial for the young team.
“We were able to get a lot of young players some good experience against some quality opponents this weekend,” he said.
Santos said he has both medium and long term goals for the team.
“I expect the team to keep developing into a cohesive unit. Volleyball is a team sport, and a relationship within the group has to face trials and tribulations to grow.”
Santos said he wants to further expand his processes as a coach.
“I want to keep developing my system of doing things and recruiting great people to enhance our school and sport.”