Shymansky reflects team concept

Marquette women’s volleyball coach Bond Shymansky is one win away from 200 for his coaching career. In only nine seasons, Shymansky is about to accomplish what coaches spend whole careers working toward.

What did he have to say about this momentous occasion?

“I didn’t even know that.”

Shymansky embodies the spirit he wants his team to have, valuing collective goals over individual accolades.

“It means nothing really,” Shymansky said. “I feel the same way the team does. We don’t really care about somebody doing something for their own statistical satisfaction. We just care about winning.”

The Golden Eagles finally got back to winning last week, disposing of Villanova for their first Big East and true road victory, and then beating down on Pennsylvania to keep the momentum going.

“We have a ways to go in learning that competitive desire and drive on the road, but we finally showed it when we needed it,” Shymansky said. “That was a good weekend. That’s probably the jump-start we needed coming back home.”

This weekend it will host St. John’s and Connecticut at the Al McGuire Center in search of win number 200 for Shymansky as well as their first Big East home win.

“I’m very excited,” redshirt sophomore outside hitter Holly Mertens said. “We’re all ready to come back home and play and get two Big East wins here in front of our crowd.”

Both the Red Storm and the Huskies sit below Marquette in the standings, sharing identical 0-3 records in conference play. They are two very different opponents though.

St. John’s boasts an impressive 13-7 overall record, and two of its Big East losses came at the hands of teams that are in the top three of the conference. Connecticut (2-12), on the other hand, comes in riding a 12 match losing streak and has a dismal team hitting percentage of .126.

Freshman defensive specialist Julie Jeziorowski said she expects two victories from this weekend.

“We need to start strong, play strong and finish strong,” she said. “I expect to win.”

Shymasnky stated there was an added pressure to win both matches this weekend to protect the home court.

“We really have to make sure we take care of our home opportunities in conference play since we only have six,” Shymansky said. “This weekend constitutes one-third of our home matches in conference. We have to make sure we take care of business.”

Junior outside hitter Ashley Beyer looks to play a key role in the matches yet again. She led the Golden Eagles with 34 kills in two matches last weekend, her first action since injuring her shoulder on Sept. 18.

Sophomore Dani Carlson will alleviate some of the pressure on Beyer. The 6-foot-3-inch right side hitter has come into her own in the last few weeks, notching a career-high 13 kills against Villanova.

“Carlson finally became a more prominent part of our offense in the Villanova match,” Shymasnky said. “She is potentially an ‘x-factor’ in terms of our capability to win.”

Still, Shymansky noted one person would not win games, but a team attitude and, particularly, a strong team defense would be the key.

“Our young players in combination with our old players are really starting to gain a stronger unity,” Shymansky said. “A real perspective of what we can do rather than what I as an individual can do.

“I feel the same way, as a coach. I plan to be here for win 300, 400, 500, 600. I just want to keep winning so we’re going to do everything that we can.”