Aug 23, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- With the first game of the season seven days away, the Tennessee volleyball team has been keying in on defense and preparing for the upcoming year.
Now that the 2013-14 academic year has begun for the student-athletes, the team has reduced to one practice a day.
"The difference between the practices we've had in our double-day preseason practices and now that school has started is we're going to tighten down to who our starting lineup is and the roles of our players," head coach Rob Patrick said. "That's something we're going to be working on this week."
Although this year's squad is young, senior Whitney Heeres says the team has shown great strides of improvement since the beginning of preseason, and is constantly striving to get better.
"It's exciting to me because everyone is so willing to learn," Heeres said. "Everyone's bought in. People are working really hard in practice. Just to see the improvement that we've made and to know we have so much more improvement that we can do, it's exciting."
One of the bedrocks of the UT volleyball program has always been defense and overall, the team is coming together as Coach Patrick and his staff continue to install their offense and defensive schemes.
"If you ask people about UT volleyball, what have we been known for over the years, I think one of the things is our ball control and our relentless effort on defense," Patrick said. "That's something we always want to keep in our program and we always want that to be a staple of what we do on the court. Those are two things that we work on every day and definitely make a priority in our practices."
The Big Orange hits the court for the first match on Friday, August 30, against Morehead State at 10:30 a.m. in the Cincinnati Invitational.