Volleyball takes what it has learned about winning to Virginia

Doug Gulasy


Credit: DKS Editors

One of the traits Kent State volleyball coach Glen Conley has tried to instill into his team since coming from Army in January is mental toughness.

Four matches into the season, Conley is beginning to see the results of his approach.

“I think they’ve really taken to it,” he said. “Winning is a learned trait, it’s not a birthright. It’s something every human being has to learn how to do, and these guys are learning that.”

The latest test in the team’s education of winning came Tuesday night at Cleveland State, a 3-2 come-from-behind victory that moved the Flashes’ record to 4-0 on the season.

“(They showed) a whole lot of mental toughness, coming back a few different times,” Conley said, specifically mentioning the “up-and-down” third game, which came with the match tied at one and featured 11 ties and four lead changes.

“Then, the rest of the games were exactly like that,” Conley said. “The last three games were very competitive, and to see our girls not quit, (was) really encouraging in game four, when we got down and (the players) came back, they made a good little run there at the end.”

Of course, Conley did note that he planned to make some adjustments heading into the William and Mary Classic in Williamsburg, Va., – which beings today- so that the team might not find itself in a hole like it did in Cleveland.

“You never want to be making adjustments – you’d like what you plan to work,” Conley noted, laughing. “But it just doesn’t happen, so you have to be able to cut and run and say, ‘We can’t keep doing the same thing because we’re going to get the same results.'”

“I believe it’s all about putting our best players in a position to do what they do best.”

The Flashes will put those adjustments to the test this weekend, as they face Southern Illinois this afternoon, host school William and Mary tomorrow morning and East Carolina tomorrow night.

Conley said he was familiar with William and Mary and East Carolina from his days at Army, where he had “seen them or seen film on them every year.”

“William and Mary’s a really solid team,” Conley said. “I compare them a lot to Cleveland State.”

Conley said the same for East Carolina.

“They’re maybe not as disciplined some as William and Mary, but they’re a good team,” he said. “They’ve got some really nice athletes.”

Conley said he didn’t “know a whole lot about” Southern Illinois, but he had just received tape of them.

“We’ll be going over that tape to figure out what they have and how we need to attack them,” he said.

Contact volleyball reporter Doug Gulasy at [email protected].