It has been a tough start for the lady Bobcats volleyball team as their record currently sits at 2-9 on the season. On the bright side, none of those games have been in the conference. Head coach Kyle Weindel said the record may be deceiving as he purposely set a strong non-conference schedule to begin the season in hopes that the team would be better prepared once conference play begins.
"There are only two teams in the conference that are above five hundred right now," said Weindel "Between us and Portland, we're the only schools that played a consistently tough schedule top to bottom. I like the spot we're in even though we're only 2-9."
The team also recognizes what Weindel was trying to do, as senior libero Nicole Baker noted this was the toughest schedule she has seen while playing at MSU.
"Out of my four years here, we've definitely had the hardest schedule," said Baker. "What Kyle did was plan it out so that we would be playing the toughest teams in the beginning of the season and getting us ready for conference."
Weindel hopes that a tough early schedule will help with the progression of this very young team. As the roster currently stands, the lady Bobcats currently have two seniors, two juniors and three sophomores on the team. The other eight players, more than half the team, are freshman.
"I knew we were going to have a bunch of freshman that would have to contribute," said Weindel. "I really wanted to, as cliché as it is, throw them to the fire of playing tough matches."
Last season the Bobcats were 6-2 in non-conference games and 9-11 in the conference. The team believes that with just two days to go before conference play begins, these big non-conference matches have raised their level of play.
"For us to get better we have to play as tough a non-conference schedule as we can," said Weindel. "I think regardless of freshman and seniors, that needed to be done, because we're still trying to win a conference championship."
"When we come up against our toughest opponents like BYU, that's kind of when everyone steps up and is like, 'alright it's time to play,' said Baker. "If we can bring that into conference play every single game it's gonna be amazing. It's just a matter of taking that and translating it into conference."
MSU will host North Dakota in their first conference game Friday at 7.