Most of the Zia volleyball players never competed together before this year, and despite their individual abilities to spike, bump and set they haven’t been able to put together many solid team performances.
The team’s only two returning players — junior Margie Goble and senior Anya Mack — are out with injury, leaving a group of newcomers to step up to the challenge of climbing out of 3-7 start.
Coach Mike Maguire hopes that much-needed teamwork will begin to change at 7 p.m. tonight at the Zia’s home opener against New Mexico Highlands in Greyhound Arena.
“With the injuries that leaves us with all new faces out there,” Maguire said. “The big thing is getting them to gel together and that takes some time sometimes.
“But we just got back from a tournament in Oklahoma, and we played probably our best match of the year and hopefully we can build on that.”
Freshman right side hitter Kristen VanWettering of Portales agreed with her coach’s assessment of teamwork.
“Probably working together hurts us the most, but I think in this tournament we played in this past weekend we really came a long way in that area,” VanWettering said.
VanWettering believes if the Zias come out aggressive against New Mexico Highlands they’ll have a good chance to win.
“I think we just need to play our game and hit the ball really hard, and not be timid,” she said. “If we’re swinging there is not much they can do about it.”
The Zias split two games with New Mexico Highlands earlier this year.
Both VanWettering and Maguire lauded the efforts of the middle and front hitters so far this season, saying the team’s poor record is not be a true indicator of their talent level.
To improve on that record Maguire and his team know what they need to do — play as a team and communicate.
“There is a lot of individualism, and we have to overcome that.”
Zia fans hope that begins tonight.