The Pitt State Volleyball team is officially on the road and ready to kill their first tournament of the season in Tennessee.
“We’re excited,” said assistant coach Breanna Lewis. “We are so ready to go play other people and this weekend is a good one for us to start with. Our preseason went really well. Our scrimmage on Saturday we got to see kind of who is gonna step up and play this weekend. It’s tiring playing ourselves, we’re ready to go play these other teams. All these girls are so excited and that’s why today we’re kind of running around like crazy, but they’re ready to go and I’m excited to see how far we’ve come from last year to this year this weekend.”
The Gorillas will face a temporary change in coaching for the first tournament of the season. After the recent birth of head coach Jen Gomez’s twin sons, she will step back for the first tournament. Lewis will take over until her return and looks forward to the opportunity to step up for the team.
“I’m excited,” Lewis said. “This is our third year going in together, so her and I are always on the same page. I went and was at her house for about two hours last night and went over how things are going. We are always on the same wavelength. There is never a time when we question each other and that just comes from working together for so long. But we also have the same philosophy; we’ve never had any issues with that and it’s made starting here and working with her so much easier. That’s why I’m not really that nervous. I’m excited for us to play, I’m ready for a game. It’ll be interesting first time, but again I’ve learned so much from watching her. And she has set me up to be so successful. And she has a lot of faith in me and she keeps telling me that, so it makes me feel good. The girls are ready. They respond just like they should. We haven’t had any issues and I’m ready to go.”
There several teams will participate in the coming tournament, including Christian Brothers, Kentucky Wesleyan, and Maryville university. The Gorillas are most concerned with Kansas Wesleyan, their first match Friday at 11:30 a.m. Lewis feels good about the team’s chances and is excited to see how they play, both new members and seasoned returners.
“Our top returner, who’s probably going to be our top hitter again this year, is Lauren Regier,” Lewis said. “She is a senior, right side hitter. She was our all-conference player last year. I think she is going to do great things and our setting position has really been a battle to see who’s going to be that setter. And we pushed them to say, ‘hey, if she’s on fire, give her the ball’. So we’re excited to see how far she goes. As far as hitting, blocking, everything, she stepped up as a leader and I don’t think she wants to go out on a bad note. It’s her senior year. She’s ready to go. She’s first and foremost who I would definitely say to look out for.”
Lewis said she is thankful for her current team members and is proud about how well they have come together in the preseason.
“I think with team chemistry, we’ve been coming into where we once were,” she said. “We’re still on that rebuild program and we’re still on that ladder moving up. We’ve gotten better every year with everything, but our chemistry this year for preseason has been amazing. They all get along, their personalities mesh really well. We’ve always kind of had some battles here and there the last two years, but this year I think things are just going to be completely different.”
The team works well off the court, but Lewis is anxious to see the progress of the team on the court as well.
“As far as volleyball wise, our serve-receive passing struggled last year,” she said. “but this year we’ve got a junior who’s going to be our libero to start out. Of course, you never know what’s going to happen, but she’s taken it by the reins … that’s Lauren Dunn, she’s ready to go. We really, really worked on how are we going to pass the ball to be successful to our setters getting our ball to our great hitters.”
The team looks forward to not only the first tournament this weekend but also the season as a whole, hoping to see great things happen through the year.