Hoosier volleyball seeks to continue its undefeated streak and improve its record to 10-0 when it travels to Fort Myers, Florida, this weekend at the Florida Gulf Coast University Invitational.
IU Coach Sherry Dunbar-Kruzan said she believes her team is making progress and gaining confidence but still has a long way to go.
“We are still building identity as a team, and each win helps to gain more confidence, but we have been pushed by some teams so we can’t get overconfident or satisfied,” Dunbar-Kruzan said. “We have to continue to look at each opponent and earn our stripes. Every win is a Super Bowl win, and we’re up to Super Bowl eight now.”
Dunbar-Kruzan credits the team’s leaders, senior co-captains setter Megan Tallman and libero Taylor Lebo, with continuing to prepare their teammates and putting them in a good position to win.
“Our leaders have done a good job in making adjustments and getting the team ready to go for whatever opponent we have, for whatever time of day, for wherever we are, for our injury situation, for however much sleep we’ve had, it’s our job to get them locked in and ready to go,” Dunbar-Kruzan said. “Megan and Taylor have done a good job with that part of their responsibility.”
One player that has bought into the mentality set by the team’s leaders is freshman outside hitter Kendall Beerman. Beerman said the team’s key motivation is making the NCAA Tournament, and everyone is on the same page to achieve that goal.
“We are in a really good place right now,” Beerman said. “The chemistry is awesome. We are all on pace with what we should be doing. We all have the same mindset. We talk about our goals and I just really am proud of us for all being on the same page. We are really determined right now and we are ready to go.”
The 10th-year coach is proud of her team’s performance in their first road trip last weekend in San Francisco, but she is pleased this upcoming tournament is not as much of a travel burden.
“We are playing three matches instead of four, we are not traveling 3000 miles and we are staying in the same time zone, so I think it will be a little easier on us physically,” Dunbar-Kruzan said. “It was good to have the four matches and I think it was the exact right decision on our part to do, but now I’m glad we’re back to three matches. We want to keep our kids as fresh as we can right now.”
IU will face Marist, South Alabama and Florida Gulf Coast this weekend.
Dunbar-Kruzan has been adamant with her team that the Marist match will set the tone for the entire weekend.
“We can’t overlook teams like Marist and play horribly and then expect to play well all weekend,” Dunbar-Kruzan said. “They know what’s at stake and they know these teams.