Foundation For Success
By Joseph Stefan
A winning culture is not created overnight when playing in an elite conference like the Pac-12. Oregon State women's volleyball head coach Terry Liskevych understands that to have a winning tradition, it's important to have a sturdy foundation.
In a time when college sports athletic directors look for success to come faster than minute rice, Liskevych praised Oregon State Athletic Director Bob De Carolis and Associate Athletic Director Mark Spencer.
"They understand what we are trying to do and are trying to get the program moving in the right direction," Liskevych said.
Liskevych, in his seventh year as OSU's head volleyball coach, has corralled some talented players that have formed a team that no opponent should take lightly.
"These kids do very good in school, are dependable, and are reliable," Liskevych said. "Being mentally tough means from point one, to the end of a game, to the end of a match your head is in the game," said Liskevych.
The international influx at the campus in Corvallis is a big part of this success.
Liskevych, a consultant for the Australian national teams from 1995 to 2004, and Mark Barnard, then head coach of the Australian women's team, began a relationship and both viewed OSU as a place where they could recruit talent from not only new neighborhoods but new hemispheres.
"With our international experience we thought OSU could attract kids from other countries but also be strong in recruiting Oregonians," said Liskevych. Barnard now serves as an associate head coach at OSU.
Liskevych even recruited in countries as far away as Germany, his country of birth. Liskevych praised his sophomore from Deutschland Mona Kressl.
"We were very fortunate to get Mona last year. She was our starting middle blocker and made honorable mention All Pac-10," Liskevych said.
This success helped convince Corinna Mommert, freshman middle blocker, to trek the 5,200-plus miles to play for the Beavers in 2011. Adding to the melting pot of players he has thrown into his recipe for a winning, Liskevych also has Canadian junior Camille Saxton as an outside hitter.
Coming from the big island of Hawaii, the lone senior on the team is Dre Shaw.
"Dre is a mercurial player. She is somebody you are going to notice immediately in a match because she has all the shots," Liskevych said. "She has all the tools to be a successful attacker. Her leadership on the court is a big reason we are going to be successful this year."
Team captain and junior setter Megan McBride coincided with her coach on Dre's hushed attack mode. "Dre has a calm presence and brings a motherly role to the team and all the girls look up to her because she works very hard, and she is hard on herself," McBride said.
For all the worldly travel Liskevych has done in recruiting, he only needed to travel four hours up I-5 to find his leader in McBride.
"Megan is very mentally tough," Liskevych said.
McBride and her OSU volleyball teammates warm up to the song "Do the John Wall" by Troop 41. The line in the song "I play hard 'til I hear the ref blow the whistle," emulates the mentality by which this junior lives her competitive life.
"I am definitely a gym rat," said McBride, "I love being active and I hate sitting around and not doing anything."
With McBride's attitude of 'Why not us?', the 2011 Beavers embody a unity of cultures that bear the mission of building a program filled with pride.