Nadia Edwards Looks to 2017 Season
CHICAGO - DePaul University's volleyball team arrived on campus last week to begin their preseason training to gear up for the 2017 season. Head coach Nadia Edwards shares her thoughts in this preseason Q-and-A.
A: It is going pretty well. I think the girls are all really excited to come back, knowing the season they have ahead of them. They were working hard in the off season and preparing over the summer. I think that the last couple days have been really awesome we've been training pretty hard and it is great to see the energy, excitement, and the anticipation to start match play.
Q: You have a core group of seniors on the team, talk about what they bring to the table.
A: Our group of seniors bring a strong sense of leadership and experience. They know where we have been before in the past and their goal as a senior group is to do something special this year, to make history and leave their legacy behind. Their motivation comes from that and even from last year. They have some unfinished business that they want to be able to take care of. It has been great for them to come in and be leaders, help out the incomers and just be a really good example of how we do things here at DePaul.
Q: BIG EAST All-Conference Brittany Maxwell has been making some waves. What do you anticipate from her?
A: I know she will make a strong come back this season. She had a great start to last season and was a strong force in the first half of the BIG EAST Conference. I think she was disappointed that she wasn't able to end the season as she would have wanted to due to injuries. I think she has a lot to prove coming back and being healthy. Over the summer, she had a chance to play in the Global Challenge and that was extremely helpful for her. She is definitely ready to lead this team this season!
Q: What are some of the strengths your program brings to the 2017 season?
A: I think our strengths are going to be our leadership and experience. We are returning 13 players and most of them were a huge part of what we did last year and in previous seasons. We have great examples of leadership and just knowing what to expect going into the BIG EAST, the level of competition we will face is all helpful. Our group is confident that it is our time and they cannot wait for the season to unveil.
Q: You are playing a competitive preseason schedule with a few matches in Chicago. How will that affect the team?
A: It is always great to be at home and have the support of your fanbase and play in a welcoming environment. There are so many strong teams in Chicago, so it is nice to be able to stay local and still be tested and feel prepared for conference season. Both UIC and Loyola are less than 5 miles away from DePaul, so we still will have the feeling of being at home. We have put together a great preseason schedule that will challenge us and prepare us for the level of competition we will face in conference. We are so excited to take the stage next week and are looking to start the season off on a strong note.
Q: Do you see any weaknesses with the team this season?
A: We are looking to do something that we have never done before. This group is trying to learn from the past in terms of doing things a different way or stepping up to make changes so that we can get to where we want to be. I think that being said, there are always ways to improve. From statistical and technique perspective, we want to be able to increase our ball control and be able to step up our defensive and blocking game. I think that we have shown the promise that we are going to be able to do that with the athletes that we have coming in and returners being bought in.
Q: You have a big class of incoming freshmen, what are your expectations for them?
A: Certainly to welcome them into the program. We believe that they are going to be able to play some roles this year for our team. Our upperclassmen have done a really great job in terms of showing them the ropes and welcoming them in so they can feel comfortable when they are on the court representing us. I am really excited for the level of ball control that we do bring in this class. I think it's going to be very helpful for us. We lost some key players last year but with the five players we have coming in, they are really going to help us to get back to where we were and then surpass that.
The season opens with an exhibition match against Northern Illinois this Saturday, Aug. 19 at McGrath-Phillips Arena. DePaul plays at the Indiana Invitational (Aug. 25-26) and UIC Invitational (Aug. 31-Sept. 2) before hosting the DePaul Invitational on Sept. 8-9.
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