Volleyball: Clements emphasizes team building heading into season

Greg Felder, Sports Writer

Since early spring, the Wright State volleyball team has been focused on team bonding and gaining team chemistry. With six of its 13 players being freshmen, teambuilding will play an important part of the team’s success.

“Not everyone clicked last year,” Wright State team captain Ashley Langjahr said. “So this year we really focused on team retreats and team building activities.”

She added that it has helped having the whole team living in the same complex this year.  All of the team bonding seemed to pay off as the squad played very well together in the opening intrasquad scrimmage.

Wright State head coach Susan Clements was pleased with the Raiders’ effort as well as their team chemistry in the match.

“The camaraderie with this group is really good, and I think that will help us down the road,” Clements said.

The team finished last season 6-26 going 0-14 in the Horizon League. All of the teambuilding is meant to help improve the team chemistry from last year, but it is also to help their six freshmen find their place on the team.

Clements said the biggest challenge she has faced so far with having such a young team, is getting the freshmen to learn to communicate with the team.  The team retreats and bonding are allowing the newcomers to feel more comfortable and fit in with the returners.

Another point of emphasis Clements has for the freshmen is to be able to maintain focus for the entire match.

“We want to win in the Horizon League,” Clements said. “That will be a main focus for us this year.”

WSU has yet to gain a win in the Horizon the past two years, but Clements is confident in their chance to turn things around this season.

“This year’s team is ready to make noise,” she said. “They are inspired to get better every day.”

Clements added that the Raiders’ biggest problem last year was closing matches. They were competitive in almost every match, but the issue was finishing strong.

When asked about the team’s progress thus far in the offseason, Clements described the team as a very hard working group that gives their best effort daily.

The Raiders open the 2014 season Friday at the Holiday Inn Classic hosted by Indiana State. WSU’s first home match will be Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. against Northern Kentucky.

That following weekend, Wright State hosts the Flyer-Raider invitational.  WSU will play Eastern Kentucky, Dayton and end the weekend against Bowling Green. The match against UD on Sept. 6 at 1 p.m. will be the ‘Block Blood Cancer’ game.  There will be opportunities to donate and buy t-shirts to help raise awareness.

The team will also be doing the Light the Night Walk on Sept 23 in Mason for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society.

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