MCJ Sports: Marquette Women’s Volleyball team’s seniors need to step up their games if they expect to be a force in the Big EastSeptember 3, 2010 // 0 Comments
by Troy A. Sparks
On the Marquette women’s volleyball team, you need the seniors to step up if the team wants to be a force in the Big East Conference.
Rabbecka Gonyo and Nikki Klingsporn are on the only seniors on the Marquette team. Both have seen the difference between their current coach, who’s more demanding, and their previous coach, Patty Rolf.
“The coaching staff is backing us up all the way,” Gonyo, a middle hitter said. “They’re pushing us to the limit, and that’s what we need to be the best.” Gonyo had 253 spike kills and 120 blocks last year for the Golden Eagles.
Marquette returns nine players from the 2009 campaign and five starters. Klingsporn and junior Ashley Beyer made second team all Big East.
The Golden Eagles finished in the middle of the pack in their conference at 6-8, which was tied for eighth, and 18-12 overall. This season, they were picked fourth in the league behind Cincinnati, Louisville and Notre Dame. Again, Klingsporn and Beyer were named to the preseason Big East team.
This year’s team gave fans a preview of their squad in intersquad matches at the second annual Fan Fest, August 21, at the Al McGuire Center. The real test begins this weekend, with stops at Minnesota and Stanford, both nationally-ranked teams.
“Our goal is to be the best and that’s why we’re going to travel and go play the big houses at their place,” Gonyo said.
Marquette coach Bond Shymansky make no excuses about pushing his troops to the level of success.
“We’re in a different place this year than we were last year,” Shymansky said. “You can see the maturity, the intensity and the desire out of our returning players.”
Added Gonyo: “We’re looking very good, so much better than last year. And last year, we looked a lot better than the previous year (2008). We’re just on the rise.”
This is Shymansky’s second year at Marquette. Before he arrived, the team was 11-18. He has brought the fun and excitement back to the Al. The place was filled to capacity against Georgetown last October. That was also the same day that the men’s and women’s teams hosted the Marquette Madness basketball festivities.
Before Shymansky arrived at Marquette, Rolf, who was 103-102 in her seven seasons there, coached the team. The players from last year knew that Shymansky would be the one who can get them playing at their best.
“The only choice we have, especially at the beginning of the season is to believe,” Shymansky said.
In their 35-year history as a volleyball program, the Golden Eagles are confident that they can get the job done. Their first home game is Sept. 10 against Creighton in their own invitational. They also play UW-Milwaukee and Toledo in a round robin weekend tournament.
Brewers Almost at .500
Lately, the Brewers have been on a tear. They’re closer to evening their record. The Crew may surpass that mark during their nine-game homestand against San Diego, L.A. Dodgers and Pittsburgh.
After a terrible home record to start the season, Milwaukee stood at 30-31 entering their last of a three-game set at Miller Park with the Padres. They’re a handful of games under .500 with their overall record but miles away from catching St. Louis and Cincinnati.
San Diego avoided the sweep Sunday with a 7-3 win. Starting pitcher Manny Parra helped the Padres out with his bad performance on the mound, but that was Manny being Manny.
“My fastball command was terrible all day, and that’s what came back to bite me,” he said after the game. “Fell behind some counts with the fastball and didn’t locate it and that’s what happened.”
Parra, who was 3-10 entering the week, gave up two home runs to Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Headley in the first two innings.
“I’m frustrated overall with the fastball command,” Parra said. “It’s just not just consistently. (Sunday) was absolutely terrible.”
The Brewers signed Parra to a one-year deal in March, and it’s surprising that he didn’t go down to Triple-A Nashville.
Parra lasted six innings, but manager Ken Macha expects at least seven innings from his starters to save his bullpen. It appears that Parra will lose his spot in the rotation, and the Brewers might replace him with someone from Nashville or call an out of work pitcher.
“I had a brief discussion with Doug (Melvin),” Macha said. “Talked for a little bit about perhaps who’s coming up. Maybe he thinks somebody else will call.”
Mike McClendon may be the next pitcher called up from Triple-A. LaTroy Hawkins, who signed in the last offseason, hasn’t pitched much at all. His right shoulder is messed up.
Hawkins, who ate up innings at his previous stops, was put on 60 and 15-day disabled lists and sent on rehab assignments. Obviously, the Brewers aren’t getting anything out of him this year. Melvin better get on the phone quick and pick up a pitcher from the waiver wire.
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