Zags Assemble For First Practice Of The Season
SPOKANE, Wash. - With only 16 days until their first match, the Gonzaga women's volleyball team took to the court Wednesday for their first practice of the season. The Zags began their day with a strength and conditioning test in the morning, followed by an afternoon practice before a team dinner.
"It feels so great being back," returning senior Terran Poindexter said. "I love that we have some new players and fresh talent in the gym that will bring competition each day. Overall, it was a very productive day. We are getting a feel for where we are at and what we need to work on until the season starts."
The Zags reported to campus yesterday and spent the day checking into their dorms, having team meetings and taking team pictures before helping with a boys volleyball camp.
Today however, the Bulldogs wasted no time getting to work for the upcoming season on the court. Led by fourth-year head coach Dave Gantt and assistant coaches Allen Allen and Diane Pascua, the Zags focused on helping the young team, which includes nine newcomers, adjust to the demands of college volleyball and stay healthy.
"The biggest difference from where we left off is that we now have 18 healthy kids in the gym," Gantt said. "These numbers will allow us to stay healthy through the training phases we have the next two weeks. I am encouraged by the athleticism, a little nervous about the inexperience, but we will do our best to manage the health of the team early on. I am encouraged by what our efforts can lead to, but right now we need to figure the small things out."
Gonzaga is returning seven letter winners, four starters and a trio of senior leadership in Poindexter (246 kills, 103 digs), Mengya Wang (.353 hitting percentage) and Kylie Edinger (248 kills, 76 blocks).
"The first few days we always work out the bugs, while teaching the new girls how we run the offense and defense," Edinger said. "A lot has changed since my first practice as a freshman, the talent has really picked up. Now as a senior, we need to keep up a positive attitude and be leaders on and off the court."
The Bulldogs open the season with the Northwest Challenge, hosted by the University of Washington Aug. 24-25. Gonzaga will play three matches in the tournament; versus Portland State University, University of Washington, and Boise State University.
The first chance to see the Zags at home is Aug. 31-Sept. 1 when they host the Gonzaga Tournament at the Martin Centre. Along with the Bulldogs, the tournament features South Dakota State University, UC Riverside and Eastern Washington University.