DULUTH, MN--For fall sports, the headline of each of their narratives has been about making their significant return after a two-year hiatus, and for UMD Volleyball, their storyline is no different.
On Tuesday, it marked day two of preseason practice for the Bulldogs in two years.
Head Coach Jim Boos and his squad are sitting at second in the NSIC preseason rankings in arguably the most competitive Division II volleyball conference across the country.
Fifth-year senior and 2019 kill-leader Kate Berg returns after a 10-month recovery due to a soldier injury. Berg says she is so excited to have one final season with the opportunity to perform at 100%.
The veteran has always had a leadership role since earning a starting spot as a freshman, but with a fresh soldier, it brings a fresh perspective.
"I think that role has just changed over the course of the last few years, and especially through Covid. It definitely made me realize that I need to vocalize a lot more with our underclassmen because we will have eight players who have never seen a match day. So I think the leadership responsibilities have just changed, but it's been fun to go through the course of all of them over the years," said Berg.
Heading into his 19th season as the winningest coach in UMD volleyball program history, Boos expressed his gratitude and the importance of Berg's leadership with their young crew on and off the court.
However, he is ready to lead the pack back to the top no matter how young or windy the learning curve is. Coach says the expectation in Romano gym remains the same.
"They're just excited to learn and listen and give effort, and so that's what really excites me about this group the potential that it has. I think it's going to take some time to really train, learn and grow, so the team that we see that starts early in September is not going to be the team we see later on in November as the season progresses," said Boos.
The Bulldogs have chosen to keep preseason competition local due to the Covid unknowns.
Boos also adds that they have adopted the mentality of starting 0-0 and understand that it will be a battle as they will need to earn every opportunity to win the NSIC and a chance to be back in the NCAA playoffs.
Their road in the NSIC opens up at home against Wayne State on Friday, September 17th. For their complete schedule, you can click here http://2021 Volleyball Schedule - UMD Athletics (umdbulldogs.com).