Marquette Wire

A season of progress

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Sophomore Ciara Jones will be a key returnee for the Golden Eagles next season.

Back in September, a week before the season started, women’s volleyball coach Bond Shymansky stated that one of his goals was to have his team hit .300 for the season. Much like in baseball, hitting .300 is no easy task, but one that sets the stage for success.

The Golden Eagles used that stage last Friday, hitting .365 as they swept Central Michigan in three sets for their 18th victory of the season.

“We clearly got better and better during the course of the season, and that is rewarding as a coach,” Shymansky said. “Our last several matches this season we were able to sustain our focus for the entire match and the product was hitting above .300.”

In volleyball, hitting percentage is determined by dividing kills from total attempts. For instance, to hit .300 one would have to total three kills from 10 attempts. There is one caveat: hitting errors are subtracted from kills.

So if two hitting errors were committed along with those three kills in the same 10 attempts, the hitting percentage would be .100. That is why hitting .300 is so tough to accomplish, but a great barometer of how a team played.

“(Hitting .300) murders teams because obviously they can’t pick up our ball,” junior Rabbecka Gonyo said. “That asserts ourselves over the other team and that’s what we did.”

Sophomore Ciara Jones and Gonyo were two key contributors to hitting .365 as a team. Jones tallied 11 kills with no hitting errors for a robust .524 hitting percentage and Gonyo added 10 kills with only two errors to hit .500 for the day. This tandem contributed over half of the teams’ 38 kills and did it in relatively few attempts.

“I was just happy that we won because we didn’t get to go to the tournament,” Jones said. “I felt that was needed to end the season off right.”

Shymanksy liked the intensity and passion his team displayed in the season’s final match and called it a testament to his team’s desire to keep moving forward.

“So many teams fall by the wayside at the end of the season when they are out of NCAA tournament contention; we weren’t going to be one of those teams.” Shymansky said. “I loved the effort and emotion that we gave to the execution in our final match of the season.”

This game concluded Marquette’s season, one in which the Golden Eagles turned around last season’s 18-loss campaign to an 18-win season.

And the table is already set for next year. Jones noted that 18 wins will be the baseline expectation for next year.

“Coach always talks about where to set the bottom at, and that’s our bottom – 18 wins,” Jones said. “We will look to make it better next year.”

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