By JULIAN BELL
(HACKENSACK) – The women’s volleyball team is rebuilding. It does not want another season like 2016, when they went 3-29.
Andrea Nolan was the assistant coach last season and was promoted to head coach in 2017, replacing Stacey Recanati, who served for 26 seasons.
Coach Nolan is stressing team dynamics this season.
“My number one goal for our team this season is to move in the right direction in building that team chemistry,” Nolan said. “We’re trying to build more skill development moving forward and not just focusing on the wins, but focusing on them playing together, working harder at practices, and coming together more as a team.”
The Knights have six games left remaining in NEC play before the NEC Tournament, and are 5-18 so far. If they win their remaining six games, they’ll go 11-18 overall, which would be their best record in five years.
In 2011, FDU went 17-13, winning five of their 10 home games, and going 9-5 on the road. In 2006, the Knights had their best start in team history, starting 8-2.
Coach Nolan is patient about the winning process.
“Some key things we’ve been working on this year are discipline, and just having them stay in their spots on the court,” Nolan said. “The wins will come if we put those things together.”
Nolan served as the assistant coach for three seasons, before starting her first as interim head coach. She played on the collegiate level at Southern Connecticut State and LIU Post, where she was awarded the American Volleyball Coaches Association Coaches for Coaches scholarship during her senior year.
Nolan’s approach is already showing results, but there have been challenges as well.
“Our biggest obstacle right now is the injuries,” Nolan said. “We’re coming out of that now. One of them was a broken finger and that player was out for about three and a half weeks. The one physician wanted her out for the rest of the season, but we were able to kind of create something for that cushion so that she could play. Our top outside had a high ankle sprain. Our trainer said that it was the worst ankle sprain she had ever seen, so we’re hoping to get her back.”
For Nolan, success comes through planning.
“They’re very well prepared,” Nolan said. “We break down lm. We watched a lot more lm this year than we have in the past. We create drills during the week that prepare us for their team.”
FDU beat St. Francis Brooklyn 3-0 on Oct. 13, giving them their fourth win of the season. The Knights won one out of their next three games, raising their total wins to five.
Nolan said that the freshman players have a unique opportunity to help the team continue to improve this season.
“Our setter, McKenna Setterlund, was a huge grab last spring,” Nolan said. “She’s really stepping up in that quarterback role. That’s what we say for our centers out there, just because she’s out there for six rotations and she’s running the whole court. Our seniors have guided her in that direction too. Carly O’Sullivan and Taylor Wycko have really been helping her to have that leadership on the court.”
The Knights had five freshmen on their team last season, and this year they have six. They are young and still growing.
“Our team has a lot of key new players,” Nolan said. “Our leadership is definitely better than last year, just the type of leadership. It’s a team working together. We don’t have that one person that’s demanding everything from everybody. It’s a lot of key leaders on the court that take over at different times.”