Story by Blake Bernier, Staff writer.
The preseason polls are in and the Murray State Racers are picked to repeat as OVC champions. As the reigning champions, the women’s volleyball team is in a unique position with every starter from last years team returning.
“Never has that happened in my entire career in any school, anywhere, anything I’ve ever done, I’ve never had that happen … ever,” Head Coach Dave Schwepker said. “I think it’s a big advantage for us, it just helps the continuity of the team.”
After winning the OVC Tournament last year, the team moved on to the NCAA Tournament, but lost to the University of Illinois. Coach Schwepker said the biggest change this season is the mental approach of his players.
“You have to have that mindset of ‘we are going to win’, whoever we play, if they’re really good or really bad, and that will give us the ability to win all the time.”
An early test for the Racers will occur Sept. 4 in Washington against the Huskies, who are No. 10 in the nation.
The change in approach means the Racers enter each game with more confidence and an objective.
“If we get up against good teams like that we are going to win, we are just going for the win,” Schwepker said.
The Racers had four players selected to the preseason All-OVC team. Junior Scottie Ingram and seniors Taylor Olden and Sam Bedard were All-OVC last year. Junior Kristen Besselsen also made the preseason list.
Despite all of the preseason accolades and expectations, Schwepker said there’s no added pressure for the team because they are remaining focused on what they can control.
“We are just thinking about each game, each match, that’s all we are concentrating on,” Schwepker said.