Volleyball team begins season with new mindset

By Christian Cataldo

Coming off last season’s 15-10 record (13-9 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association), the Cal Poly Pomona volleyball team looks to bounce back and build on the season it had last year. The Broncos currently hold an overall record of 6-2 and a 2-1 conference record.

The Broncos began this season by traveling to Anchorage, Alaska for the SpringHill Suites invitational. The team’s mindset was tested right from the start, falling to nationally ranked Rockhurst three sets to none. The Broncos bounced back and displayed their mental fortitude by defeating local rival Azusa Pacific, three sets to two.

The Broncos went on to lose the next two games during day two of the SpringHill Suites Invitational but Head Coach Rosie Wegrich sees the experience as a positive.

“We went up to Alaska the first weekend, played nationally ranked teams [and] came home with one victory to Azusa [Pacific],” said Wegrich. ” I thought we soul searched [in Alaska]. I saw a lot of “let’s get it done now” attitude.”

Senior middle blocker Christen Williams believes the trip to Alaska prepared the team for the rest of the season.

“At the SpringHill Suites [Invitational] we were playing top-level teams, and our lineup wasn’t solid, so we had some issues creating flow,” said Williams. “After having the SpringHill Suites tournament, we were able to come back and really find our flow and work together. [We] started off with such steep competition, [and it] really made a difference.”

The Broncos learned from their experience in Alaska and went on to win their next three of four games at the Cal State San Bernardino Coyote Classic. They split the matches during day one, beating Fort Lewis 3-1 and then dropping the game to Western New Mexico 1-3.

The Green and Gold flexed their muscles during day two of the Coyote Classic, as they swept the competition: beating New Mexico Highland 3-0 and Westminster 3-0.

The Broncos had excellent play from multiple players on their squad, but senior setter Nicoletta Stork’s strong play earned her the honor of CCAA Player of the Week. She finished the week of Sept. 7 with 54 total kills and a kill percentage of .418.

“This season we are focusing on [our mindset],” said Wegrich. “Our mindset has to be more resilient; it has to be [tougher]. It has to be acquired out there in the practice gym, and as you’re practicing, you have to find ways to toughen up. Practice should be much more difficult than a game.”

Stork spoke about the focus of the mental aspect of the game.

“We have a new coach, her name is Brianna Gonzales, she’s a psychology major at Laverne and she’s been really good helping us,” said Stork. “We’ve had meetings a couple times a week [on] just how to be mentally strong, [how to] be confident, how to finish games [and knowing] what your mind set should be going into the game in order to play well.”

On Sept.16, CPP showed strong play in its home opener and its first conference game of the season, defeating Cal State Dominguez Hills 3-0. The Broncos then went on to defeat conference foe, Humboldt State, 3-2 for their second home game of the season.

The Green and Gold finished out the week dropping the game against nationally ranked Sonoma State, 0-3, but it looks to continue its great play moving forward in the season as it faces off against Cal State L.A on Sept.23 in the Eagles Nest. On Sept.26, the team is set to face Cal State Monterey Bay at Kellogg Arena.

Christen Williams

Courtesy of Matt Brown / Bronco Athletics

Christen Williams

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