An offseason of transition and brutal non-conference slate produced a slow start, but Molly Alvey and the Bearcats still feel confident entering Big East play.
By Ashley Davis
Special to GoBearcats.com
After long-time coach Reed Sunahara resigned in January, the remaining players of the Bearcats volleyball team made it a point to stay bonded. Momentum from the Big East tournament championship needed to carry over with new coach Molly Alvey taking over the program.
"Our main focus was staying together as a team and having the same goal: to win, no matter what coach we had," senior Emily Hayden said.
With Alvey, the Bearcats women's volleyball team hasn't seen success carry over. They are currently 3-11 overall and opened the season losing five in a row. They've endured a difficult adjustment period to the new coaching style and struggled to find wins at the same time.
"The newness and things you don't typically think about (such as) gym jargon, communication styles has played a factor," Alvey said. "But, what goes hand-in-hand with that is the level of competition we've played."
The Bearcats have played six teams in the Top 25, including Illinois twice, a team in the national championship last year. Alvey called it maybe the toughest non-conference schedule in the country.
Conference play: The Bearcats started conference play this weekend with games against Notre Dame and DePaul. They hope Big East play is what is needed to produce more wins. UC split the weekend slate, falling to the Irish, 3-2, and topping DePaul, 3-1.
"We have three different seasons: pre-season, conference play, and post-season," Hayden said. "Big East play is going to be my favorite because (we're) playing rivals."Alvey said despite the slow start, her team is playing good volleyball right now.
"We're pretty set with the lineup and normal substitutions," Alvey said. "We'll definitely have a few more adjustments by the end of conference play that will give us a different look."
Scary situation in Texas: The team was preparing to play Central Florida in the first game of the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational in Austin, Texas on Sept. 14 when news of a bomb threat forced them to leave the campus.
The team had to skip their practice and hung out at the hotel until all cleared. They ended up playing the game, beating UCF three sets to none.
"We were going into practice when they told us to evacuate," Alvey said. "They told us to leave the building, pushed us onto the street, and then off campus. We didn't know what was going on until we got back to the hotel. It was crazy."