With the season quickly approaching, coach Sonny Kirkpatrick has high expectation for his volleyball team.
“I would be really disappointed if we didn’t compete for a championship,” Kirkpatrick said. “I think we’ve got the talent and we’ve got a shot to do some really great things.”
The team has a focus of one team and one goal. The coaching staff has attempted to unify its coaching, and Kirkpatrick expanded on that.
“It starts with us as a coaching staff, us being consistent on how we’re teaching things, and consistent on what we are saying and making sure the players aren’t told 18 different things.”
While the team does have a preseason All-Sun Belt Conference player in Maria Zelenovic, coach Kirkpatrick said that it’s a team focus and all awards are better at the end of a successful season.
“I’d rather have that at the end of the year than at the beginning of the year,” Kirkpatrick said. “We made it clear that any awards that we attain during the year are a culmination of 16 players’ work.”
Conferences in the NCAA Division I have seen many changes throughout the last few years, and the Sun Belt Conference is no exception.
Many teams are coming and going which makes competing at the highest level more difficult. Kirkpatrick added, “This is my ninth year in the Sun Belt. In my past eight years you’ve had some really strong teams at the top and some weaker teams at the bottom. But this year there are definitely no easy matches.”
“Any time we can get out on the floor and represent Troy University it’s a special occurrence, whether it’s here or on the road and it’s something we don’t take lightly. Any time we put on the colors, it’s a special feeling.”
The Trojan Invitational is next week, Sept. 4-5, and the Trojans are really looking forward to playing at their home crowd. “It’s always good to get to sleep in your own bed instead of driving seven hours to play matches. We’re a pretty good team at home and we need to continue to build on that,” Kirkpatrick said.
I asked the coach which game I should attend if I could only attend one. Without hesitation, his response was two words, “South Alabama.”
“South Alabama is our number one rival so any time we play them it’s a special time.”
The Trojans take on the South Alabama Jaguars on Wednesday Oct. 8.
The Trojans start their season on Friday Aug. 29 against Austin Peay and UNC Asheville at the Big Orange Bash in Clemson, South Carolina. The Trojans will also play their first home match Monday, Sept. 1 against Southern Miss at 1 p.m. in Trojan Arena.