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Volleyball Drops Colorado Final

Freshman Libero Jen Scholz tallied 20 digs in her first collegiate start at the position. Photo by Leah Beihart/The Minaret

The University of Tampa volleyball team finished the Colorado Premier Challenge in second place after a three sets to nothing loss in the championship to West Texas A&M.  The team has dropped from No. 3 to No. 6 nationally, and with a record of 6-2 has as many losses as they did the entire 2011 season.

“We won the matches we needed to win to get to the finals but some of the teams weaknesses showed up in the finals,” said two-time National Coach of the Year Chris Catanach. “Our ball control and defense was weak.  Thankfully these are skills we can tune.  If it was something like size or strength there wouldn’t be much we could do about it.” Catanach added.

Sure, these games will take their toll just as any loss would, but the team considers these preseason games “development” games from which they are able to learn emotionally and fine tune their mistakes so they are on their game when conference play does come around.

The expectations for the 2012 team are very high according to Coach Catanach, with his main core of players returning led by 2011 SSC Player of the Year Danielle Selkridge, and freshman defensive specialist Jen Scholz.

“The team overall is feeling alright,” said Catanach.  “Not 8-0 like we would like to be feeling, but last year showed that sometimes it’s good to lose.  A loss is always bad, but at the right time can help your team get better”.

Coach Catanach was excited about getting to see playing time from freshman Jen Scholz at the tournament, recruited because of her superior defensive skills.  Jen can play five out of the six positions on the defensive side of the ball.

“There were certain intangibles while I was recruiting her,” said Catanach.  “You can get away with little things playing high school or club ball, but once you start playing in college you can’t get away with those same things.  She’s making adjustments slowly from the high school to college level transition and if she does the work she needs to, she’s going to be a great player”.

Scholz herself seemed excited for this season even before they got to play their first game.

“I loved going to Colorado.  The weather was beautiful and we had a huge team barbeque.  It was great”. When asked about playing for one of the nation’s best volleyball programs as a freshman, Scholz said there was more expected out of the players and it was higher intensity, but it’s still fun and added that she enjoyed playing and the big reward that came with it.

Scholz is disappointed with the team’s 6-2 start.

“Tampa volleyball doesn’t have losses this early in the season.  It’s frustrating and there are definitely kinks that need to be worked out”.  Scholz wants nothing more than to carry on the Spartan volleyball tradition of winning. “My goal for the team this year is to make it to the national tournament” Scholz said.  “I would also love to earn a starting spot so I can just play”.
Connor Anthony can be reached at connor.anthony@spartans.ut.edu

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