Jennies are “Set” to open the season


Photo by Meah Copeland

Head Coach Flip Piontek teaches a new drill to his players as they watch him. Other players go through the drill and the men’s basketball team is also practicing.

  The University of Central Missouri Jennies volleyball season starts on Sept. 2 in Alaska and will depart on Sept. 1. The team is set to have bus tours around the city and around National Park Anchorage. 

  “We are prepared to play against other teams and stop scrimmaging ourselves,” senior outside hitter Aubree Bell said. 

  The Jennies had scrimmaged against Johnson County Community College on Aug. 17 and Quincy University on Aug. 21. 

  “I got a lot done on Saturday. Really I learned a lot about some of the players that we think could potentially play, some that couldn’t,” head coach Flip Piontek said. “I learned a lot about my depth chart, I learned a lot about all the players in all the positions, so that was really good for me.”

  Piontek said he hopes the scrimmages, preseason and the two weekends before the home opener will prepare the team for how difficult the conference will be. 

  “It will be very hard, competitive conference season, and I’m looking forward to it,” Piontek said. 

He wanted the seniors to be responsible for how they want their season to turn out for them. 

  Last spring the players made individual goals and team goals. Bell said she wants to have a certain hitting percentage and have a certain amount of blocks for each game.

  Junior outside hitter Sydney Lierz said her goals are to have a certain amount of blocks to hit and a passing percentage.

  With the new Delta variant discovered, there is an increased risk of getting COVID-19. Both Bell and Lierz take their chances of competing because they like playing the sport. However, playing during a pandemic can affect a student’s mental health. During the pandemic, Bell said her mental health was good. Lierz struggled with her mental health during the quarantine. 

  “Once I got back on campus I was 100% ok, but quarantine was definitely hard for me cause you’re locked in the same place, seeing the same people every time and I don’t get to see my friends, play volleyball which I like doing, makes me happy,” Lierz said. 

  In the preseason poll from the American Volleyball Coaches’ Association, the Jennies ranked 18th in the top 25 with 333 points. The MIAA decided not to cancel any games. In order to play volleyball, teams must have six players to play or they forfeit the match. 

  The Jennies have been practicing and lifting weights to get ready for the season. The team added four new freshmen to the roster. 

  “I think an exciting thing is that we got four new freshmen, we kept everyone from last year, we have an old team and we are experienced, and I think it’ll be good,” Bell said. “We have a wide variety of personalities on the team.”

  The Jennies scrimmaged against Rockhurst University, Drury University and William Jewell College on Sat Aug. 28. The home opener is on Sept. 14 against Missouri State Southern University.