Alejandro Aguirre/ Contributing Writer
After losing in five sets against the No. 3 Tulsa Golden Hurricane in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA Championship, FIU’s women’s volleyball team is determined to redeem themselves and make a greater impact in the Conference USA. The team is now entering in their second season in the CUSA and is optimistic on how they would do and how far they would go.
To help a young squad, Head Coach Rita Buck-Crockett added Tim Edfors to the volleyball staff as an assistant coach. This is a great acquisition to the team because Edfors brings 30 years of experience that includes 10 years of collegiate coaching experience. He is known to bring the best out of his players and can teach new volleyball techniques and training methods to the team.
Now with the coaching staff in place, the team is ready to embark on a long journey to success. Some people have questioned the fact that the team only has one senior on the roster, Martyna Gluchowicz, which they believe can affect the team in negative way since they do not have that abundance of veteran presence and leadership that other teams have. The volleyball team has responded to those remarks obviously by adding Edfors to the coaching staff who brings all his knowledge of the game and will share it to the players. The coaching staff has not worried much about having only one senior on the roster because the same young team proved to them that they can compete and win against older and more experienced teams.
This showed in the CUSA Tournament when they surprised the whole conference by making it to the quarter finals. Not many people expected FIU to make it that far but FIU feels unsatisfied by the results of last year and are hungry to win and spin heads again.
The first step to the CUSA Tournament starts off at the Radisson UCF Invitational in Orlando, Fla. The Panthers will play against Western Carolina, Northeastern, Eastern Kentucky and the University of Central Florida. FIU stays on the road for back to back tournaments, at The University of South Florida and South Dakota State University.
The big game to circle on your calendar is the home opener on September 17. What makes this game even more exciting to watch is that it will be played against in- state rival Florida Atlantic University. From there they will play in their last out of town tournament in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to finish off the month of September. The month of October will be a long stretch of key games played against other teams in their conference. The bulk of the season will be played in that month and FIU will see firsthand who will be their competition in the CUSA Tournament. This month is very crucial for the team because they want to bounce back and improve their conference record from last year. Last year they had a record of six wins and eight losses. If they can change that to a winning record this season, they will be a force to be reckoned with in the CUSA Tournament.
As mentioned before the volleyball team is very young but they display an immense amount of talent. Be on the lookout for one the younger players on the squad, Anabela Sataric. As a freshman last year she made her mark on the team as a key offensive weapon. She led the team in hitting percentage of .333 on the year, posting 16 kills against four errors in 36 total attempts and she was third on the team in assists with 230. She ended her freshman year with 79 digs, eight blocks and eight service aces. This is just a small sample size of what the whole team can bring to the game. With all these young players, it looks like all the pieces are coming together for a strong future and a fun and exciting season to come.
Buck-Crockett and the rest of the coaching staff are staying positive and are confident that the Volleyball can compete, play hard, win the Conference USA Tournament and are here to stay. At the end of the day who doesn’t love a true underdog story?
Head Coach Rita Buck-Crockett was unavailable for comment.