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Volleyball Prepared for Butler Invitational

CHICAGO-The roles of a coach take many forms during the course of a season. At times she will be a psychologist, disciplinarian, role model and even a scientist. One of the most integral aspects of coaching is finding the right mix of elements among the players to develop that all important buzz word, chemistry. The proper mixture produces a solution free of corrosiveness and volatility, while one with just a minor off ingredient can act like an acid eating at the team's core.

Fortunately for DePaul volleyball head coach, Dawn Dockstader, finding the team's chemistry is the least of her concerns.

"Our chemistry is really rockin'. I think it's picking up where we left off at the end of last year," said Dockstader. "I feel real good about everybody's attitude and I think they're excited to play and they're ready to leave [for the Butler tournament]."

DePaul plays Evansville Friday, Sept. 1 at noon, which is the opening match of the Butler Invitational. The team's final game will be Saturday at 2 p.m. against Butler.

Considering that in most cases a basic camaraderie takes a few matches to build, the Blue Demons have bypassed a step traditionally taken early in the year.

"This team is definitely like none I've ever worked with," said assistant coach Julie Wiejak. "The energy these girls have day after day is pretty outstanding. Even when something isn't going well and their bodies are tired, they still try their hardest."

The team will look to carry that effort and dedication into its first matches of the year. DePaul will face Evansville, Valparaiso, Cleveland State and Butler in the five team round robin tournament.

"Each of these teams will pose a challenge for us and give us a good test to open our year," said Dockstader. "I learned early on that you can't base your opinion of a school on what they did the year before. You can't look at a team and say 'oh they had a losing record last year so we should beat them,' because you don't know how players have improved from one year to the next."