by Neil Frawley
With a new regime intact, the VSU volleyball team welcomes seven new players to its family.
The seven newcomers include: Natalia Campos (Fr.), Taylor Holder (Fr.), Danyelle Drummond (Fr.), Marissa Woodworth (Fr.), Kelsey Hedman (So.), Jessica Codato (Jr.), and Jenna Kirkwood (Jr.), making it a total of four freshmen, one sophomore, and two juniors.
Aside from filling necessary holes in the team’s roster, the new players have brought a new energy to the team that has the entire team playing with higher intensity.
“I believe that the recruits who have come in this year have added to our team in a physical and mental aspect. The girls who have come in this year were in shape, strong, competitive, fast, and also mentally they have experience,” Krista Bradford, junior outside hitter, said.
The recruiting process was a collaborative effort by both first year head coach Mike Swan and assistant coach Jordana Price.
“The recruiting process can get pretty complex. There are a lot of routes to go,” Price said.
“Coach Swan came knowing some players he was recruiting from before. We also (had) people send us emails and videos and contact us on the internet and we look at them and we recruited a couple players that way. After we contact them, we go and watch them (and) we let them know we are interested.”
There also becomes the challenge of immersing the new players with the returning players so that there is an easy transition, and with so many changes to the VSU squad it would appear evident that there would be some bumps in the road.
Fortunately according to Price, the process has gone over extremely smoothly.
“I think they’ve all transitioned pretty well. We haven’t had any big problems yet that or that it’s been brought our attention that they are struggling, (but) if there’s a problem, we try to address it in the best interest of the coaching staff and the players,” Price said.
As far as where the program is headed in the future, the team is extremely confident that the new players, along with the experience of Swan will help set the standard for Blazer volleyball for many years to come.
“I believe that since Coach Swan has come into the program, we have definitely seen an increase in expectations and the overall mental part of the game, the intensity, the competitiveness and everything,” Bradford said.
The excited new look Blazers begin their season with the West Georgia Tournament on Sept.10 at 7 p.m.
“This is going to be our breakout year. So, if you want to see some good volleyball come out and support,” said Bradford.