Lady Cats are optimistic about season

Emily Moore, Staff Writer

The Pitt-Johnstown women’s volleyball team 0-33 season has quickly been shot down when they began their season in Tampa, Fla.

After defeating Henderson State University (Arkadelphia, Ark,) 3-1, the Lady Cats lost three straight sets to Minnesota State University-Mankato.

The next day, the Lady Cats defeated Franklin Pierce University (Rindge, N.H.,) in three sets.

“Playing these nationally ranked teams down in Tampa showed us that we can compete with the best,” junior outside-hitter Cambria Wierman said.

Nationally ranked seventh, the University of Tampa (Fla,) beat the Pitt-Johnstown Lady Cats in four sets.

“The game against Tampa was great in the beginning. We came out with very high energy and won the first match against them,” said Wierman.

“The next three matches were very close in the score; but we just fell short. It was a great experience to play different teams who are so talented.”

The loss to Tampa did not hurt the Lady Cats, it helped them if anything, according to head coach Joanna Haupt.

“I think it did help the team.  We learned that if we eliminate and cut down on our unforced errors, we can earn points by the opponent making their own errors,” Haupt said.

“Our defense is strong, our backcourt is fast, and our front row blocking has improved, so playing a clean game with less errors will benefit our game.”

To prepare to compete against the nationally ranked teams, the Lady Cats put in work at practice to become a better team, Wierman said.

“Before going to Florida, we worked on everything. We are a new team from last year with new freshmen who are very talented. We also worked on running plays with hitters,” Haupt said.

Now that one preseason tournament is done, the Lady Cats still have two more left before starting conference play Sept. 33 at Slippery Rock University.

A good reason to play in preseason tournaments is because the team can play against competition they know nothing about, according to Haupt.

“It was fun playing some very phenomenal teams that are among some of the top teams in the nation,” Haupt said.

“With playing very good teams, we as coaches have been able to see different things we can work on in order to get better as well as things that we do well that work against opposing teams.”

“Before regular season, we have to work on keeping our energy up even when we are tired and hitting off shots for the hitters,” Wierman said.

The Florida trip helped the team bond, according to Haupt.

“The girls also spent a lot of time together off the court,” said Haupt.

“I think we will match up very well with teams in the (conference) this year.  We return most of our team from last year. We have young talent that joined our team, and our returning players have worked hard over the summer and challenged each other in the gym every day.  It should be a very fun season.”