Sept. 25, 2009
BY AUSTIN BAIRD
In three seasons as Tennessee's libero, Chloe Goldman has established herself as the focal point of the defense. Now in her senior season, she's also building a legacy as one of the best defenders in the school history.
"She's so important that we actually set our defense up to make the hitters, or try to have the hitters, hit to her," head coach Rob Patrick said. "Her defensive abilities are so good that they allow us to get a lot of transition swings because of what she can do digging the ball."
With the majority of the regular season remaining, Goldman is only 120 digs away from Kristy Dobson's school record of 1,474.
"There were some records I thought we be very hard to break when I came [to Tennessee in 1997]," Patrick said. "One of them was our digs record."
The reason Patrick believed the school's digs record was "almost untouchable" is the change of NCAA rules that shortened the allowed amount of matches in a season.
When Kristy Dobson set the current record in 1991, most NCAA teams played roughly twice as many matches each season as are currently allowed.
"For her to be in a position to get a record like that, or any record, means that she's been playing at a very high level and has been very consistent year in and year out," Patrick said.
Always a natural defender, Goldman has grown into a well-rounded player and one of the more reliable passers on the team.
"She's always been a really good defensive player but her passing just needed to get a little more consistent so we've worked on that," he said. "[Chloe] had to earn her position here throughout her career and she did that on the court. I'm very proud of her for that."
In the midst of a season that Goldman described as full of expectations, she is keeping her focus on the team's primary goal of winning the SEC championship.
"We talk about it every day. We talk about it before practice," Goldman said. "It's not about the records -- it's about winning and playing well."
Though many players say they're only concerned with wins and think little of individual records, Patrick believes she's one of the few that really means it.
"If her digs allow us to [win] that's what makes her feel good," Patrick said. "When she does get the [digs] record, I hope it's doubly sweet for her and that we get a win so she'll completely appreciate the moment."
After a five-set loss at LSU last week in the SEC opener, Goldman and the rest of the Lady Vols are looking for their first conference win when they take on Arkansas this Friday at 7 p.m. in Thompson-Boling Arena.
"If we can play with the same intensity that we played in the LSU match, we're going to put ourselves in a situation to be successful this weekend," Patrick said.
Added Goldman: "I'm excited to get things right after losing to LSU last week. I'm ready to beat Arkansas."