Clinging to positives

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That’s not a pretty record

That’s not a pretty record

The un-undefeated team hopes for a good end to a bad start

Article: Brady Lang – Sports Writer

The Cougar men’s volleyball team has struggled thus far in the 2013-14 Canada West season, yet the team may be able to turn things around during the stretch headed into the playoffs.

Going into the Christmas break the squad fell to a dismal 0-12 record after dropping two straight set matches to the UBC Thunderbirds in Regina on Nov. 29  and 30. The club’s problems, it seems, may be the fact that it has had difficulties closing out wins not only this year, but also over the past several years of the program.

“We’ve been playing good volleyball, yet we have had problems bringing it all together at the end of games,” said rookie setter Alex Cassels. “We have been outplayed some games with the tough schedule we have had during the first semester of this season and we need to work on being precise with our plays.”

The Cougars – who currently sit in last place in the Canada West standings – have only played one team with a win percentage under .500 so far this season, Winnipeg, so their schedule has been tough on the veteran squad.

Even though the Cougars only have 10 games remaining on their 2014 schedule, the club has brought in new Australian player Brad Millers into the fold.

“We just picked up [Millers] and he will definitely help our team quickly,” Cassels said. “I’ve seen a lot of improvements even this weekend in our tournament in Saskatoon. We need to focus more on our structure as a team and our skills will come into play.”

The club definitely will be a work in progress in these last ten games of the season, yet work for next year will have to start happening quickly to help the program succeed in the long run. The club currently has five fifth-year players on the roster that will be aging out, while the majority of the team are just in their third year.

If a positive swing can come out of this dismal season, it may be a time to live and learn for the young club. Taking the positives out of each game and growing the team into a possible contender a few years down the road.

Moulding the player’s individual games may be something the Cougars will need to do. When you’re sitting at 0-12 at this point in the season, one must imagine that the team needs to be thinking about its future as a whole. The program has struggled for a while now, and a new look at the team may be imminent at the conclusion of the season.

The team now has a record of 10-98 in conference games dating back to 2008, and you have to start realizing at some point that this squad needs help. Millers coming in may not be an immediate answer, but it could be a start for the Cougars.

The volleyball club’s next game will be on Jan. 11 against Alberta at home starting at 2:30. The club is now in their final month of action, as their final regular season match will be Feb. 8  at UBC Okanogan.

Image: Marc Messett

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