For this upcoming season, the GU women’s volleyball team will be as strong and competitive as ever. The team will be very experienced, having only graduated one senior last year. This leaves the program with a senior class of five very impactful players and some mighty underclassmen to battle against opposing teams.
Two key returners, according to Coach Hayle Gibson, are seniors Anna Finch and Jasmin Smith. Middle blocker, Finch, is a returning SLIAC Player of the Year. Finch’s skills, competitiveness, and leadership contribute to the dynamic of the team. Gibson stated, “Anna is one of the all-time greats that have ever come through our program. She is very skilled, she holds the team to a high standard, she is extremely strategic on the court, and her competitive nature is unmatched.” Finch, along with her fellow senior teammates, will create an atmosphere unlike any other that the GU women’s volleyball team has seen.
Along with the talented veterans of this year’s team, there are many new recruits that will add dimension to the program. The newcomers are very skilled and excited to be a part of the team. Two key recruits are setter, Amanda Hollis, and outside hitter, Hannah Estes. According to Gibson, both women will be able to compete and produce at a high level for the team. The newcomers’ energy and enthusiasm will help rejuvenate the squad.
With all of this talent, other teams will be no match for the Lady Panthers. The team has a very talented roster top to bottom. As Gibson said, “The competition in our gym is always a priority to us… The competition will be fierce.” This ferocity is what will take the program to the next level.
As the GU volleyball team’s competitiveness and skills heighten, they will be better prepared to play against their top opponents. In years past, Webster University and Westminster College have been the volleyball team’s biggest conference competitors. With a record of 22-9 in the 2019 season, Greenville University won both times they played against Webster. They also faced Westminster and defeated them once.
When playing familiar opponents, the players and coaches come prepared with certain mindsets and strategies. “My team and I approach every game with a mindset of having something to prove. Whenever we play familiar opponents, the coaches do a very good job of breaking down the tendencies of the opposing team and its players. Our coaches really do their research, and they prepare us with all of the strategic knowledge that we need to compete. Once the game begins, it’s a matter of using the strategies and playing as a team,” said Finch. With this being said, this season should have even more exciting matchups when the Panthers play teams like Webster and Westminster.
As the season approaches and games begin, the women’s volleyball team will continue to practice and prepare for their top rivals. Finch, Smith, and the other women will help lead the way to victory for the program.