Volleyball Gets Down To Business With First Fall Practice

Aug. 10, 2009

The start of the fall sports season is sneaking up fast, and while most Washington students won't be loading up the moving vans and returning to campus for at least another month, the Husky women's volleyball squad already has one practice under its belt. The 2009 season officially kicked off this afternoon for the preseason-No. 4 Dawgs as they hit the hardwood in the Bank of America Arena.

Sunday afternoon the Huskies went through picture day, filming introductions and team shots that will be used all season on the video board at home matches. The women alternately learned laughs and cries of 'aww' from their teammates for the ways they chose to mug for the camera. Next they filed over to take still head shots and posed photos for use on team posters, programs, and on GoHuskies.com.

Once the still shooting wrapped, the team hiked up to Red Square on campus where they took several team shots in front of the broken obelisk sculpture between Suzzallo Library and Kane Hall. Then it was off to lunch before a team meeting at 2 p.m.

Today the team got straight down to business with a pass and serve drill session in the early morning, before reconvening at 3 p.m. for the full team workout. Ninth-year head coach Jim McLaughlin presided over his famous white boards as the team stretched out and helped guide four new freshman faces through the warm-ups. Joining the Huskies this year are freshmen Kelly Holford (DS/L; Long Beach, Calif.), Kylin Muñoz (OH, Monroe, Wash.), Jenny Nogueras (S; Cayey, Puerto Rico), and Jenna Orlandini (DS/L; La Cañada, Calif.).

Freshman Jenny Nogueras awaits her close up during Sunday's photo session.

Nogueras was the first one to fall under McLaughlin's watchful eye, as she and All-American junior setter Jenna Hagglund both worked on their sets along with assistant coach Leslie Tuiasosopo. McLaughlin often pointed to aspects of Hagglund's technique that Nogueras could learn from, as the rest of the team worked on their jump serves on the next court. About every minute a thunderous boom came from the servers, indicating that senior Jill Collymore had just blasted away.

After that the setters worked separately with the outside hitters and middle blockers, and later in the day the team split up into a fast-paced scrimmage. It was all in all a long, hard day's work to help shake off any rust and McLaughlin came away satisfied with the effort.

'I liked the energy, the girls worked hard,' McLaughlin said. 'We've got a long ways to go. It was a good day but not a great day. The kids understand that we'll have some great days in a while.'

As for the freshmen, the learning curve is steep but the 2004 National Coach of the Year knows they can progress to where they need to be.

'They'll settle down as they start to understand the movements and the eye work,' said McLaughlin. 'They're thinking about a lot right now. We've introduced a lot to them and there's more we've got to get in place. But day one is day one. It's never great, but I was encouraged by the day.'

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