The Sacred Heart University women’s volleyball team is currently 8-10 this season, with their ten losses this season matching their total losses from last season.
Despite their record, the team currently sits in first place in the Northeast Conference (NEC).
“We graduated a very successful group last year. We’re bringing back a very talented group, but they hadn’t played too much together at these new positions,” said head coach Rob Machan.
These new dynamics have been an adjustment for the team as a whole.
“We had really high expectations coming in and we have a young team this year. A lot of our starters and main contributors left after last year. It’s kind of a learning curve and I feel like we are just getting over that learning curve,” said senior Dominique Felix.
After a 1–9 start to the season, the team has turned things around, winning seven of their past eight games.
“It has given us a lot of confidence. I think we all knew we were going to be good. It is nice to see all the hard work pay off because we have been ramping it up at practice and us being the hardest working team is really going to pay off,” said Felix.
The recent turnaround is not something that comes as a surprise to Coach Machan. He credits his team for not faltering during the early season slump.
“This team, as much as any I have ever had, worked hard to establish their identity and kept together when times were rough. They are just a special group,” said Machan.
After losing many players to graduation last year, junior Camryn Luginbuhl has stepped up this season. She leads the team in kills.
“Cam has really stepped up this year. She has been a role model, a leader, and a hard
worker. We were missing that fire, that edge and I think she has brought us that this year,” said Felix.
Felix has also stepped up, as she is second on the team behind Luginbuhl in kills.
“We talk a lot about accountability on our team and I think that Dom has done a really good job with holding people accountable and holding herself accountable,” said Luginbuhl.
The Pioneers lead the NEC with a 6-0 conference play record.
“If there were a tangible goal, we would want to win the conference and make the
NCAA tournament. We hope to win the tournament and host again but if we don’t, we want to be the team to beat and then you win those games and the team’s record does not matter anymore,” said Machan.
The Pioneers will take on Bryant University in Smithfield, RI on Wednesday, Oct. 18.
Sacred Heart Athletics contributed to this article.