I was back in familiar territory for stop four of the MIAC Volleyball Camp Tour. Macalester College, stop one, was hosting a full day of preseason volleyball, featuring two MIAC teams in addition to themselves: the Augsburg Auggies and the Wildcats of St. Catherine University.
I stopped in for Augsburg's first scrimmage of the day against UW-Stout. The match didn’t count toward the regular season record, but it gave a lot of people a glimpse of the potential this team has. Augsburg finished last season with a record of 10-1, good for a tie at first place in the MIAC standings. Despite having the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, the Auggies lost in the championship game to St. Thomas. Augsburg is ready to dethrone the MIAC Conference Champions this season, but before they can do that, they have to get through the preseason first.
Here are my six take aways from Augsburg College's play day at Macalester:
- Fearless- When the Auggies take the court, it's almost like a dramatic scene in a movie. They have a total sense of fearlessness about them worthy of the Dark Knight. They are not
First year libero Macey Terhell celebrates after the Auggies
score in their scrimmage against Bethel.
- Ready for the Spotlight- As I said earlier, Augsburg knows they have a target on their back going into the 2015 season. Being ranked in the Top 25 in the country can serve as a double edged sword. While it can boost and give a team confidence, it serves as a beacon to everyone else in the MIAC. Other teams are gunning for them, but the Auggies will be waiting. They are fully ready for their close up and to stand atop the conference all by themselves.
- Athletic- This Augsburg team is extremely athletic, both physically and mentally. Physically,
Deedee Maier serves against UW-Stout in Augsburg first
game at Macalester
- Active and Attentive- This goes hand in hand with being a mentally sound team. The Auggie players never take a break during play. Sometimes, players will catch their breath and mentally check out when the ball in on the other side of the net. This never happened for the Augsburg players during their scrimmages. They were extremely active on the court, even when the ball wasn’t in their possession. The defensive specialists and liberos were always on edge and watching, as were the blockers and setter.
- Calm and collected- The Auggies never panic. Head coach Jane Becker facilitates a calm environment. Even when opponents go on a scoring run, Coach Becker remains calm and collected on the bench, a trait that has no doubt rubbed off on her players. When they get stuck in a bad rotation on serve receive, they just stick to their normal routines and try to find a way out without
Augsburg players regroup after dropping a point against
- Short-Term Memory- From the play on the court, the Augsburg players seem to all have very short memories. They simply forget bad plays and/or mistakes the minute after they happen (at least during the game). Sometimes, players can get bogged down if they spend play after play worrying about a mistake they made in the first set. It may cause them to overcompensate or continue struggling all together. Augsburg doesn’t seem to be bothered by this. When one point ends, the next one begins, and there’s nothing they can do to fix the last point. End of story, goodbye, the end.
Thanks to Coach Becker and the players for talking to me after the first scrimmage. Augsburg also played against Bethel, another top team in the conference. According to the MIAC coaches preseason poll, Augsburg and Bethel will finish 1-2 in the conference, with Bethel taking the top spot. The two teams split their games at Mac, indicating the matches between those two will be ones to watch!
Where to next?There were two other MIAC teams who took the court at the Macalester scrimmages: Macalester and St. Kate’s. The Wildcats are stop number 6 on our preseason tour, so stay tuned for blog and video from their play day as well! Then, on August 26, it's on to Collegeville to visit Saint Benedict. Make sure to tune into Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, where I’ll be posting live from Saint Ben's. Also, make sure to check out Matt’s Football Camp Tour to read even more about your favorite MIAC programs!