JMU volleyball started its CAA season with a four-set win against the Northeastern Huskies Thursday. The Dukes have two more CAA matchups this week at home against Hofstra and Delaware, and one at the end of the month against Towson. The late September games are going to be important for JMU to achieve its goal of winning the CAA again.
Head coach Lauren Steinbrecher has confidence that her team will succeed with the schedule in front of the Dukes over the next couple of weeks. Steinbrecher is getting her team prepared for the key stretch of its season.
“Any time [we] play at home, we need to win those games,” Steinbrecher said. “So, we have Hofstra on Saturday — who’s a very talented team, they have very physical athletes in the front row. [Then] we have Delaware on Sunday, and next week we have Towson, so we have three really strong CAA opponents that we got to be ready to compete against.”
Junior setter Sarah Martin believes in the team’s ability to win games in crucial moments to later win the CAA. Martin knows the importance of winning CAA games during the regular season and how that affects the team’s chances of repeating as CAA tournament champions.
“Winning the regular season would be awesome because we would get a bye in the tournament and then we can host here next year,” Martin said. “So having momentum through September and even October to get to [the] tournament is definitely important and definitely showing teams the best of us and improving every step.”
Senior setter Tilbe Yaglioglu loves the Dukes’ culture and the atmosphere they’ve built over the last couple of years. Their ability is going to be one of the keys to their success during CAA play.
“We’ve been preparing for this the entire preseason — we’ve been playing through August and September for all of this,” Yaglioglu said. “We are all aware that this is very important for us, we want to win another championship … We trust our team and we trust our culture and we’ll do everything it takes to win another championship.”
Next on the schedule for JMU is Hofstra, a younger team with talent that’s as aggressive as this JMU team. Steinbrecher isn’t underestimating the Pride in the slightest and talks about some of their talent.
“They have some international players that are very good,” Steinbrecher said. “They have an outside — I think she was named preseason player of the year — they have a really strong middle, a freshman right outside who’s very good. They serve well, they’re scrappy, they’re going to be tough.
The JMU and Hofstra match will start at noon on Saturday. The Dukes will head into that game with a 9-3 record (1-0 CAA). The Pride (10-4 0-0 CAA) will be playing their first CAA game of the season against JMU.
Contact Brandon Ellis at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more volleyball coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports