Redbird Volleyball Opens Preseason Thursday
Aug. 6, 2008
NORMAL, Ill. - A new era in Illinois State volleyball will officially begin Thursday, when first-year head coach Melissa Myers holds the first of more than 30 practices leading up to the Redbirds' 2008 season opener against Iowa State Aug. 29. Thursday is the first available day for NCAA Division I teams to practice.
The Redbirds will begin a series of two-a-day practices Thursday morning, and will practice a total of 16 times before the Red/White scrimmage on Aug. 16 (3 p.m.), which will precede the fourth annual Redbird Fan Fair and the football team's Red/White scrimmage at Hancock Stadium (7 p.m.).
Myers will be seeing her new team play for the first time. She was hired May 2, following the conclusion of the four-week spring season. Myers is excited about the upcoming season, and the opportunity to see her team in a competitive situation for the first time.
"Every season brings a new dynamic and begins with a new team," said Myers. "This year is no different. Our staff and our team are aware of the importance of the next few weeks, as we prepare for our season, specifically our conference schedule.
"We are looking forward to getting in the gym, getting started and seeing what growth we can make. I am most interested in seeing how effective their ability is to make each other better from practice to practice."
Myers and the Redbirds will be facing a unique situation, having to implement a new system in just over three weeks.
"Every opponent brings challenges which will require us to respond differently to each one of them," Myers added. "Our players have a good understanding of this and we'll begin working on our ability to adapt to various situations in practices immediately. The demand is high for our players to remember, adapt, and perform consistently."
Illinois State returns 10 letterwinners, including six starters, from last season's team that garnered an at-large berth to the 2007 NCAA Tournament. The Redbirds also welcome four freshman newcomers to the fold in 2008.
The 2007 Redbirds advanced to the championship match of the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament over Thanksgiving weekend after defeating host Missouri State in the quarterfinals, and upsetting No. 22 Wichita State in the semifinals.