Indiana Daily Student

Volleyball not upset about poor ranking

Team motivated by poll, determined to prove it wrong

When volleyball coach Katie Weismiller read the e-mail containing the Big Ten coaches' predictions for the upcoming season she wasn't surprised by where her team was ranked.\nMaybe for any other coach whose team had just made its second consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament being picked eighth out of eleven teams would have been upsetting. But Weismiller has dealt with low rankings before and instead of getting angry about it, she and her team are using the coaches' predictions as motivation.\n"All the coaches that we are going to be playing are the ones that put us (in the No. 8 spot)," senior Amanda Welter said. "It's exciting to get out there and prove to them that they were wrong."\nLast season IU advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament, finished fifth in the Big Ten and compiled a 20-11 record. But seven players from that team are gone and are being replaced with freshman. The rest of the team is also young and the Hoosiers only have three returning seniors.\n IU's lack of experience is a major reason the coaches didn't place IU as high as other teams. Seven additional Big Ten teams joined the Hoosiers in last season's NCAA tournament, which was won by Penn State. \nWeismiller doesn't deny the fact that IU has a young team, but she said the returning players were strong contributors last season. One of the biggest concerns for this year's team will be finding players to replace middle blocker Cydryce Carter and outside hitter Ryann Connors. Carter led IU in blocks last season and Connors led the team in kills. Carter and Connors also provided leadership throughout the season.\nWeismiller informed the team of the coaches' predictions at a preseason banquet. Instead of turning it into a negative, Weismiller is using the ranking as something that could be a driving force this season. \n"We have an opportunity to play seven teams that are ranked above us in the Big Ten ' and beat them," Weismiller said. "But it takes more than talk; it takes stepping out on the court and executing what we have been practicing."\nInitially, the team was upset by the lack of respect it received from Big Ten coaches. The Hoosiers didn't want to be seen as a No. 8 team, but they are taking their anger and using it as motivation to work harder. \nThe ranking also puts the team in the position of being the underdog, which the Hoosiers enjoy because opponents might look past them. The Hoosiers understand the reasons behind their low ranking and accept the fact their talent level might be unknown. \n"For us it's a good thing, a challenge, to knock people off when they aren't expecting it," freshman Melissa Brewer said. "It's nice to have something to build on"

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