Santa Clara, Calif. - The Santa Clara volleyball team is back in action in the gym today, looking forward to its season opener at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Aug. 25. The Broncos will play in four tournaments on the road prior to returning home to open the West Coast Conference slate on Sept. 20 vs. Gonzaga.
SCU: First, how about an all-USA final for women's beach volleyball at the London Olympics! Did you get a chance to watch much of it as you prepared for the season to open with practice?
JW: It was fantastic volleyball. Both teams played at such a high level and continued to improve so much throughout the tournament.
SCU: You have returned to begin practice for the 2012 season this week. How is it going so far?
JW: We are all happy to be back in the gym. It's a great feeling to be working with this team at this time of the year with my new staff.
Honestly, just continuing from the work we did in the spring with the development of the offensive and defensive systems, it's nice to see the girls already in sync with what we want to do. We want to develop our offense and defense rather quickly in these double day practices.
SCU: What are you working on specifically on both sides of the ball?
JW: Offensively we are really trying to play fast as much as we can. We are putting a strong emphasis on our serve and serve receive. I am happy to see the girls paying attention to the small details that we are working to implement.
Defensively we are just trying to be more aggressive with our block and our floor defense. Most importantly we are spending time on developing very tough serves.
SCU: How is your leadership on this team with the loss of your 2011 captain, an All-WCC First Team middle, Tanya Schmidt?
JW: Our older ladies, Katherine Douglas, Kayla Lommori, Alyssa Anderson, Megan Anders and Kaleigh Durket, have come back with a great focus for this group and have been good leaders and set examples for our team.
SCU: It's early in practice, but this year you welcome five newcomers. How are they doing thus far? (Click here for release on the newcomers).
JW: It's too early to tell right now with all the freshmen but I am really impressed with our two transfers, Chelsea Heier and Haley Cameron. Everyone in the program has noticed Haley's presence on the court and she is very mature and very well trained. She is very methodical which really adds to our focus of maintaining the process and making it all about the process.
Chelsea has a great pair of hands and sets a very consistent ball. Our hitters are enjoying her sets and improving offensively.
SCU: Final thoughts after a couple practices?
JW: I am very optimist about this year's team and future teams. Recruiting has been going really well. We have been talking to some terrific kids and I think there is a real buzz about our program right now. I am really excited about where we are and were we are going.