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MEMPHIS, Tenn. –Seven days until first serve!
The 2019 University of Memphis volleyball team wrapped up its second week of preseason drills Friday with a scrimmage against Union University at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. The squad also had an intersquad exhibition Thursday.
The Tigers now turn the page to “match-week” preparation as they set their sights on the season-opening day Aug. 30. Memphis travels to Charleston, Ill., for the EIU Panther Invitational. The Tigers begin play in the two-day tournament Aug. 30 with a 12 p.m. (CT) match against Drake. Later that evening, Memphis faces South Dakota State at 7:30 p.m. (CT).
Head coach Sean Burdette was pleased with the progress his Tigers made during the second week, and he saw some positive signs with the season opener on the horizon.
How great was it to see a different team on the other side of the net today?
“It was fantastic. I appreciate Union coming down and being able to do this. It was certainly refreshing for us to get out there and look at different lineups versus another opponent and see what we have.”
Now that you didn’t have to split your team up to scrimmage, you got to see your full depth on display. What did you see in the team’s depth?
“It was great to see that, despite being down two players, the depth we still had. We could move players around and see several different combinations, which was excellent. That’s a tribute to what these players have done in practice the past two weeks, competing for spots and being able to go deep with different lineups.”
After last Saturday’s first scrimmage, serving was an issue. What progress was made in that area the past week?
“We’ve certainly worked on it, and we’ve gone to calling a little more service zones. Before that, we were allowing them to be aggressive, and now we’re dialing in it a little. Service has been a focus of every single practice session that we’ve had since last Saturday.”
Any other areas that you saw today that needs some work as you head to the season opener?
“We can always work on serve and serve receive. But, there’s still work to be done on our defense to transition swings, our attacks off of our bigs. Meredith did a good job of that and hit a high clip in today’s scrimmage. She’s been able to kill balls from the back and front rows. We want to get our middles involved.”
After last week’s scrimmage, you mentioned you wanted to get the middles more involved. Did you see improvement there today?
“You always want more. One middle that stood out today was Andrea, who was getting up and making herself available. Also, we were able to get Sabria the ball behind the setter. Those give us some good options. We have some good depth in the middle, and with everybody competing, it makes everyone better.”
And one week from today you start the season.
“It’s exciting because we know we have a limited number of practices left. We have another four sessions in before we hit the road to Eastern Illinois.”