'Cats eager to start "Constructing a Winner"
The University Of Kentucky volleyball team has started preseason workouts in preparation for the 2000 campaign. The Wildcats open their season Sept. 1 against Georgetown in the University of Virginia Invitational.
Jona Braden, who is beginning her third season as coach of the Wildcats, says her squad came into preseason workouts in top condition.
Junior April Barnhorst in action|
"We felt like we needed to form a foundation," Braden said. "We've done that, now we're growing and building. I feel like we had talent here, we just needed to develop it. The players are discovering a lot about themselves in different aspects, including the mental, emotional, and physical preparation. They are also learning the spiritual aspect of having faith in what they need to get done out on the court."
Coach Braden believes the returning seniors are forming their own leadership personality.
"These four are so focused on continuing the legacy that's been left behind by the classes they've been led by. They're reaching out and bringing everybody into the fold."
The squad's "Blue and White Scrimmage" is set for Saturday, Aug. 26 at 2 p.m. in Memorial Coliseum.
Quotes from UK Volleyball Players
Senior outside hitter Melissa Kracht:
"I expect us to do great. Since the beginning of preseason our team has come out strong, ready, and prepared. Success is not having any regrets and leaving everything out on the court. If we do our best and we leave everything on the court, then we'll be fine.
Watching preseason drills are senior Stephanie Taylor (L),
assistant coach Reita Clanton (C), and senior Melissa Kracht|
Senior outside hitter Stephanie Taylor:
"Our goal is to reach the best level that we are capable of reaching, not comparing us to any other team or to anybody else's goals or expectations...just play the best we can play. My personal goal is to be a good team leader and to go all out my last year."
Senior middle blocker Megan Weiskircher warms up before workouts|
Senior middle blocker Megan Weiskircher:
"We want to come together and work really well together on the court, and have fun at the same time.To be successful, the team needs to be at an even pace, avoiding extreme high and lows and maintaining consistency."
Senior defensive specialist Stacey Wallace:
"I expect us to establish a really strong reputation for this team and this program. I want to surpass everyone else's expectations. I also want us to be a team that leaves it all out on the court so that other people will look up to us and respect us for that. We'll know we're successful when we we've given all we can possibly give."
Quotes from Uk head coach Jona Braden
What stand out for you after the 1st few days of practice?
"We came out ready to go...the fitness level is nice and strong...the players are receptive and very focused on bringing this group of people together and forming a very unified force...every drill... the focus is there...they're (the players) sharp...they're ready, and excited about the season.
Senior Stacey Wallace goes through drills|
Expectations are to keep getting better every day. Our expectations are to take advantage of every opportunity. Each day is an opportunity, so we want to just build....we want to build from one day to the next, and become stronger and more unified as a complete group of people performing this game.
Constructing this group of people, making it firm, solid and ready to move forward. But more importantly, really being able to trust what each individual is going to do, and trust themselves...that's what we're focusing on right now.
We have five newcomers coming in this fall...they're blending in well, they're learning a lot from their teammates...as well as just being receptive and open. It's exciting to see how they're blending in and getting to know the upperclassmen.