Women’s volleyball has early success, gives confidence to strong players

After winning 11 of its last 12 match-ups, the women’s volleyball team is excited about its chances for going far in ODAC and national play this season

Tanner Smith

The W&L volleyball team is coming off a 2016 season in which they posted a 24-10 record and made it to the ODAC Championship match. But Head Coach Bryan Snyder thinks this year’s unit, which has gotten off to a blistering 12-2 start, is even stronger.

“Our record is very similar, even though we have a very challenging stretch coming up in front of us, but our statistics are a little bit better,” Snyder said. “In general, we are playing better, but I think we haven’t reached our potential yet, as opposed to last year where I thought we had figured out what our best could be and we were trying to manage things and stay as close to it as we could. I don’t think we have seen how good we can be yet, but I think this team right now would beat last year’s team if they played head-to-head.”

One constant from last year’s team to this year has been Vicky Kazmierczak, ’18, who has been a captain for both years. Kazmierczak thinks that she has grown from her experience as a captain last year and that it has made her a better leader.

“It has been easier, especially in terms of my own confidence in what I am doing and what needs to be done,” Kazmierczak said. “I now have a good sense of how to approach certain situations now as opposed to last year. That has been very helpful in terms of how I help the other captains, as it has helped to have some expertise.”

Meg Guignon, ’19, who is the reigning ODAC Volleyball Player of the Week for the week ending Sept. 17, has experienced Kazmierczak’s leadership first-hand for the last three years and thinks she has experienced something special.

“She is awesome,” Guignon said. “She has this natural ability to be a leader and everyone really respects her and what she says.”

Snyder said he is impressed by Kazmierczak’s leadership ability, calling her a “selfless member of the program who has been really invested this year in developing other leaders,” but said Guignon also has an uncanny natural ability.

“Meg has fantastic ball control with her forearms, her hands and with her third contact,” Snyder said, “so she is able to hit such a variety of shots that no matter what type of block scheme or defensive scheme the opponent throws at us, she is able to adjust and hit the shot that is open. Some players might have one really good shot or two really good shots, but she has six or seven.”

Guignon said she thinks the coaching staff and the team’s offensive and defensive schemes have allowed her to flourish.

“I have played volleyball for a very long time and I have played in a lot of different defensive systems,” Guignon said, “but this system gives me a lot of freedom to do whatever I need to do and makes it very easy to read where the ball is going.”

The team’s combination of talent, chemistry and depth has both Guignon and Kazmierczak excited for another run at the ODAC championship this year.

“All of us want to host ODACS and we absolutely can do it,” Kazmierczak said, “which is the most exciting thing I think. We are going to start there, get that championship and then go from there.”

The Generals will next take the court on Sept. 27, when they will travel to Bridgewater to play at 7 p.m.