CSC Volleyball looks to improve in 2018

Entering her third season as head coach of the Chadron State College Eagles’ volleyball team, and on the heels of a ten-win season, the most since 2007, Riann Mullis doesn’t have complex goals for her squad in 2018.
“Every year we want to continue to get better,” Mullis said, “it’s really that simple.”
In the short time Mullis has spent at the helm of the team she’s focused on instilling the drive to get better into her players, to build a core culture of striving for improvement among the roster.
This year she hopes her team can build on the work last year’s roster did toward that end.
“We had a better season last year, but we also lost some games we should have won,” Mullis said, “but we had that constant dialog, from myself, the staff, and the girls, that we have to be better.”
“The girls last year started to obtain that mindset more consistently, and we were able to have a better season,” she said.
Getting better to Mullis means more wins this season, a task she knows is made all the more difficult with this year’s addition of a 16th team, Dixie State, to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, but she’s confident in her group.
For her players, she says, the conversation is all about one thing – making the playoffs.
“The number one goal the girls continue to talk about is making post-season play,” Mullis said, adding that it’s been a daily topic of conversation throughout the preseason.
In pursuit of that goal Mullis has brought nine new players to the team, seven as freshmen and two as transfers.
Mullis says that when planning for her second ever CSC recruit class she knew she wanted to address team height.
“Specifically we had to get taller in the front row,” Mullis said. “Our blocking has to improve so we had to grow a little. The RMAC is a very tall conference so we needed to continue to keep pace.”
The new class includes freshman Aracely Hernandez, of Greeley, Colorado, who Mullis says is an all-around, competitive, player she expects to see good things from.
Mullis is also high on freshman Amelia Berg, of Fort Collins, Colorado, an outside hitter who she says should bring size to the net the team didn’t have last year.
The third year coach says she has no shortage of praise for her incoming players who have joined 10 returning players already on the roster.
With a nearly even split, Mullis isn’t afraid of the relatively high number of newcomers.
“When you’re rebuilding a program you bring in more new than not in the first few years,” she said. “But I really do believe that overall we have a balance. We have a lot of new young ladies joining our team, however, the returners are very solid core players for us.
Mullis says she believes her team has a strong core of leadership, evident in the fact that players recently voted in four captains for the upcoming season.
Three seniors were among the four captains voted for including Madison Webb, of Loveland, Colorado, who in her fourth year with the team is expected to bring her usual consistently good play; and senior Micky Trimble, of Platte City, Missouri, who Mullis says fans should expect to see splitting time both as a center and a defensive specialist this season.
Senior Dominika Senkerikova, of Uhersky Brod, Czech Republic the team’s most reliable offensive threat from last season, will also act as captain this coming season but is still coming off an injury.
“We’re not expecting her to be back to one-hundred-percent for the next week-and-a-half, two-weeks,” Mullis said. “Right now she’s playing her role as far as getting some touches in practice and rehabilitating so she’s ready for conference.”
Rounding out the group of captains is junior middle hitter Timmi Keisel, of Fleming, Colorado, who Mullis says tends to go underrated.
“Timmi (Keisel) a lot of the time doesn’t get a lot of credit because she’s not flashy,” Mullis said, “but that’s what I love most about her. She’s just really solid and consistent and just does her job.”
This past Friday Mullis’ group fine-tuned their skills in preseason contests against Central Wyoming and South Dakota Mines and will start their season this Friday at the Lindenwood Challenge in St. Charles, Missouri.
At the challenge they’ll face Urbana and Lindenwood on Friday, then Missouri S&T and Southern Nazarene on Saturday.

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