By Kelsey Whaley
Stop number eight took me to St. Peter, MN where I watched a practice at Gustavus. Now, when Matt Higgins visited Gustavus for the MIAC Football Camp Tour, it rained as if there was no tomorrow. When I visited Gustavus on August 27, it also started raining shortly after I arrived. At least I was inside for most of the downpour, but I'm starting to think a visit from the MIAC staff is not good for the weather in St. Peter.
Rain or shine, nothing was getting in the way of Gustavus’ practice that day. Head Coach Rachelle Sherden held a short team meeting before having her team run through their pregame routine. Coach Sherden and her team were practicing as though it was game day, so it was nice to see what the Gusties will do once they start playing in games.
Thanks to Coach Sherden for letting me sit in at practice and for explaining the team’s goals and mind set for the 2015 season. Gustavus is operating a little differently this year in terms of motivation, and it was cool to see that play out on the court.
That being said, here are the six observation I made from my practice with Gustavus:
- Safety in Numbers- The Gusties have one of the biggest volleyball teams in the MIAC this
Players listen to Gustavus head coach Rachelle Sherden
as she explains the practice plan for the day.
- Volume- With over twenty girls on the court at once, the Gusties produce a lot of volume. In their intra-squad scrimmage on Thursday, their cheers and exclamations overpowered the music that was playing. The players are literally a force of nature when it comes to their voices. Opponents and fans will know whether or not Gustavus won the point.
- One Day At a Time- The mentality of the Gustavus team this year is to live in the moment. They aren’t looking ahead in the schedule or trying to prepare for games that happen in October. Instead, they are solely focused on each day as it comes. The Gusties are also more concerned about making their own team better rather than worrying about what other teams in the conference are doing. This takes a lot of anxiety out of practice situations and allows the players to focus on the team and their own game rather than a far off opponent.
- Groovin’- This Gustavus team has fun. They are constantly moving and grooving to just
Returning setter Marisa Morgan warms up during practice.
- Coachable- These players are extremely coachable and soak up whatever Coach Sherden has to share with them. She has their undivided attention whenever she speaks, and the players are more than happy to learn from their leader. They want to get better as a team and as individuals, so they listen to both Coach Sherden and her assistants. Everyone is listening and learning, but the first year players are like sponges. They want to embody the image of Gustavus volleyball, and what better way to do that than to listen and learn from the upperclassman and the coach.
- Late Start- Gustavus doesn’t actually start playing games until Labor Day weekend, giving
Gustavus hitters run through hitting lines before
scrimmaging each other during practice.
Gustavus will be on the road throughout the beginning of September. Their home opener is against UW-Stout at 1pm on September 19. They also host and play Luther on the same day at 7pm. Their first conference game is on the road against St. Kate’s on September 26.
Where to Next?The final day of the MIAC Volleyball Camp Tour is sadly here. On the final day, Friday August 27, I’ll head to St. Olaf for a full day of scrimmages. The three teams I’ll be looking at are Carleton, St. Olaf, and Hamline. St. Thomas and Gustavus will also be at the tournament, so don’t be surprised if you see some familiar faces in video footage and photographs!
Be sure to tune into Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, where I’ll be posting live from the scrimmages. Also, make sure to check out Matt’s Football Camp Tour to read even more about your favorite MIAC programs!