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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Set for success

Photo by Ishika Samant

Junior Cici Hecht dives to save the ball from hitting the court. 

Last season was a forgetful one for the Texas A&M volleyball team. A&M finished with a 14-14 overall record and 7-11 in the SEC. Coming into this season, however, A&M’s roster looks a whole lot different. Ten new players will be donning the maroon and white in Reed Arena this fall under coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn. 

“We did have eight seniors [last season], so we graduated a lot, and we have ten new faces: five freshmen and five transfers,” Kuhn said. “[The new players] are all here now [for] camp, and that’s huge for us, because they’ve been training together in the weight room. They’re doing open gyms and that chemistry is building now. It’ll be like a brand new squad, basically. We’re going to have a lot of new faces out there.”

Kuhn said while it can be difficult to integrate so many players into the program, it helps to have leaders like libero Allison Fields. 

“Fields, our fifth-year senior, is still here, and that is so huge for us,” Kuhn said. “She is just the core of what it means to be an Aggie volleyball player.”

Fields said she relishes the opportunity to be a leader of the team this season.

“It’s a blessing to have that kind of respect from your teammates [and coaches],” Fields said. “[The] belief and confidence that I am a leader [of this] team. It’s a lot of responsibility, but there’s more joy to it. It really allows me to see the bigger picture in life in general of how it’s not all about yourself. You’re living to make others around you better.”

Kuhn felt last season’s struggles were due to the team not bringing their A-game on a regular basis, a requirement for success in the SEC.

“[It was a] lack of consistency,” Kuhn said. “I think we had [promising] moments earlier in the season, [such as a five-set victory] at Tennessee [despite] one of our players [getting] injured. We moved a lot of people around. It was a combination of injuries and building a [sense of consistency] in the lineup.”

Fields said the players are learning to be more attentive to the tedious aspects of being a successful program.

“I think we just learned that it’s going to be a grind and the little things do matter,” Fields said. “I think we let the little things slide a little bit last season and so really harping in and focusing on little things and big things. Whether that’s sleep, getting into the training room with [athletic trainer Rebecca Hines] more, getting in more reps or simply your body language. It should always be positive no matter what.”

The team is looking at the summer as a time to improve and build team chemistry, junior middle blocker Madison Bowser said.

“The offseason is going well,” Bowser said. “With ten new people [coming into the program], it can be hard to mesh [together] and get everyone on the same page, but everyone came with a super positive attitude and was ready to work and get better.” 

Fields said the new players have already brought so much to the team in the short time they’ve been a part of the program.

“[The new players] are all great teammates,” Fields said. “They’re fun, and it’s very much a blessing to be able to play on this team, especially with all of them being new. They bring so much not only to the court but [also] into the locker room. It’s genuinely something we kind of have been missing. I’m excited for these girls. I’m excited to see what they can bring and what they’re going to do here. They’re all great people and I think a lot of Ag[gie]s are going to want to watch A&M volleyball because of the new people on our team.”

Kuhn’s expectation for this year’s team is to win championships. She hopes to accomplish this by routinely testing her players to get the best out of them.

“[We want] to compete at the highest level, win championships. We always talk about it, our goal as a team is to win championships,” Kuhn said. “Our opening weekend is against Hawai’i, San Diego and Pitt[sburgh]. We’re going to challenge this group, we’re going to challenge our team all the time to compete at the highest level and become the best version of themselves. The outcome is winning championships. That’s what we want, but all we can control is that process and how to challenge them each day so they can compete and play at that level.” 

Bowser’s message for the 12th Man is to be ready for a special season.

“Hold on tight, it’s going to be a great ride,” Bowser said. “We have a lot of new pieces, and we’re excited to show [the fans] what we’ve been working on.”

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