This weekend will be a blast in the past for IU volleyball Coach Steve Aird.
Aird — a former player and assistant coach at Penn State and a former head coach at Maryland— will see Penn State visit Bloomington for Saturday’s football game, and Maryland will face his team at University Gym on Sunday.
Aird said he hopes IU football can upset Penn State and that his team beats Maryland, but still roots for the programs when they are not facing IU.
“I miss the kids at Maryland," Aird said. "I wish them wild success. When you’re a confident human and you believe in what you do, you’re OK with other people doing great stuff.”
Aird said he thinks being familiar with the Maryland program will give his team an advantage in preparation, but could also pose a challenge.
“You can argue that I know a lot about the Maryland group, so we might have an advantage,” Aird said. “They also know exactly how we play, what my systems are and what we do.”
Before Sunday’s match with the Terrapins, the Hoosiers will have a Friday night battle with the Ohio State Buckeyes.
This will be the first time IU is facing an opponent for the second time in the season, as the team defeated Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, on Sept. 26.
With three conference wins under its belt, this weekend can be big down the stretch for IU in terms of hopes for postseason play.
“This is a program for the last few years that hasn’t been sniffing postseason stuff,” Aird said. “That’s unchartered water for most of these kids, and that’s kinda cool. They’re in a good place that way.”
Aird said he hopes the environment at University Gym will be full of high energy for both games, especially the one with Maryland because it is the only athletics event on campus that night.
“I think the crowd will be great,” Aird said. “If you’re going to go out on the weekend and you’re a student and you want to go out and party and do that stuff, you can do that after 9 o’clock. But from 7-9, you can come have a blast.”
When the construction on Wilkinson Hall is complete, Aird said he wants it to be one of the toughest environments to play in.
The tradition of cockroach costumes, music and drumlines is something Aird has helped create at University Gym, but he has much more in mind for the future.
“You never really know what I’m going to do next,” Aird said. “I want it to be one of the most fun places to play.”
The match with Ohio State will begin at 7 p.m. Friday while the Maryland match will be at 1 p.m. Sunday.
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