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February 25, 2013 / umbcdawgblog

Back Into the Swing of Things

By: Mallory McIntyre

Once again, the women’s volleyball team is back at its push towards winning that America East Conference Championship! Spring ball is upon us and our plans for the spring season are bigger than they have ever been.

McIntyreJump2012HartfordMy name is Mallory McIntyre, and I am a setter and one of six juniors on the women’s volleyball team here at UMBC. I am a media and communications major with a double minor in American studies and the management of aging services. With only a year and a half left of school, I am interning with the UMBC Athletic Communications as well as the marketing department this semester upstairs in the RAC. Currently Emily Witsaman (another junior on the volleyball team) and I are two of the interns that work for UMBC Athletics. Emily and I get to help out at different spring sports events as well as complete four hours of office hours per week. So far we have been working the basketball games, but as lacrosse, baseball and softball season gears up, we will be interning at those games as well. Both Emily and I are only a month into the internship now and we both have had the realization that this is what we want to do once we graduate.

After losing a heartbreaker in the semi-finals last season to Binghamton University to end our season, our team was more than fired up to return to campus after a long winter break to get back into the gym and swing of things. With each of us players working out and conditioning while back at home, our team was counting down the days until we returned so we could get back into the gym together and start training towards that conference championship next season. Spring volleyball for us is set up a bit differently than fall season. In the fall, our team practices every day for two to three hours, as well as lift and condition three times a week and usually have two matches every weekend. In the spring however, our training isn’t as rigorous to start out.

Right now, our team is conducting small group sessions consisting of four to five team members in each group. Each group has practice for an hour each day, but once March starts we will begin team practice again at which time the team will practice four times a week, ranging from one to two hours. At this time the intensity picks up as we train for our spring tournaments. During the fall, our lifting and conditioning isn’t as taxing on the body as it is during the spring season. Because spring is our off season, we are trying to get stronger and faster by lifting three times a week and conditioning two times a week. Our teams lifting programs has more high intensity movements and circuits than our team did in the fall and our conditioning with Coach Cantor has been stepped up. We are focusing on being as quick as possible traveling short distances and being able to change direction without slowing down.

We are also working in our small group practices on volleyball fundamentals so that each player will have them ingrained into their muscle memory before we start holding team practices where we focus more on 6-on-6 drills rather than fundamental drills.  By having fewer people in the small groups, it really gives Coach Blanchard the opportunity to fine tune everyone’s mechanics and really gives him the chance to focus on four or five people than twelve people all at once.

For the spring season, we have twelve players on the squad – two freshmen: Paige Miller and Sherelle Walker; four sophomores: Kristin Cooper, Tany Santiago, Krystal Mlemchukwu and Hannah Schmidt; and six juniors: myself, Ali Goc, Hallie Carter, Emily Witsaman, Robbin Lee and Becca Garrigues. One of our biggest goals for this spring season is to get all of our injured players back to full health and back to practicing at 100%.

Even though our spring season has been in effect for only a couple weeks now, we are edging closer and closer to our first tournament in April! We are pushing through our tough workouts and conditioning because we know the harder we work in the spring, the better we will be for the upcoming fall season!

Stay tuned for the next Dawg Blog entry from another UMBC women’s volleyball player!

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