Aug. 12, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - While the Tennessee Volleyball program is only four days into camp, the 2013-14 team held its second day of two-a-day practices on Monday afternoon in Thompson-Boling Arena.
The returners and newcomers have already began to prove themselves on the court and to the coaching staff.
"The biggest thing that has jumped out to me right at the beginning is the volleyball IQ of the entire team," head coach Rob Patrick said. "Everyone here can play the game. They might be athletic, but they also are really good volleyball players.
"We've built a strong foundation for us to continue in our preseason practices. Our newcomers have come in and done a very good job of being on top of our defenses and offenses. We've been able to go a little further than normal at this time of the season."
Junior Shealyn Kolosky has taken note of the vast improvements of this year's squad.
"We've came out pretty strong with a lot of high energy and good communication, which is always good," the 6-foot-3 middle blocker said. "The freshmen and the newcomers have showed that they're ready to work."
For most incoming freshmen, the transition from high school to collegiate volleyball can be tough. Newcomer Raina Hembry, who hails from Portland, Ore., says the transition has been an adjustment.
"It's a little different because the pace is faster and balls are hit faster," Hembry said. "The girls are more experienced and I'm learning a lot more."
Hembry credits the returners for helping the newcomers adapt to the Tennessee way, as well as come together as a team.
"We do team bonding before and after," Hembry said. "I feel that is really helping on-court chemistry."
"Our upper classmen have done a fantastic job of teaching them the defenses, offenses, and hand signals during the summer," Patrick said. "We've been able to come in to the beginning of our practices and start running instead of walking."