The College’s Bruin Arena inside the Lifetime Activities Center (LAC) on the Taylorsville Redwood Campus is relatively quiet during the summer. The SLCC Volleyball team is about to change that. This fall, students taking classes in or traveling through the building will soon hear the unmistakable sounds of college volleyball echoing throughout the LAC.
Last year’s Bruins finished the season with an overall record of 22-8 and an 8-2 mark in the Scenic West Athletic Conference (SWAC). Though it was a solid year for SLCC Volleyball, Bruin Head Coach Sue Dulaney isn’t satisfied.
“I don’t want a repeat of last season, that’s the bottom line,” said Dulaney, who enters her fifth season as head coach of Bruin Volleyball. “I’m not sure we were all mentally connected to each other last year. I think that it showed in our heart out on the floor at times, and really cost us in the win column.”
2012 Volleyball home schedule
- 8/31 SLCC Tournament TBA
- 9/1 SLCC Tournament TBA
- 9/11 W. Wyoming 6 p.m.
- 9/28 Colorado NW 7 p.m.
- 9/29 USU-Eastern 3 p.m.
- 10/12 Southern Idaho 7 p.m.
- 10/13 North Idaho 3 p.m.
- 10/27 Snow College 3 p.m.
Dulaney has high hopes for this year’s team, with a solid returning core of sophomores on her roster. Outside hitter Maddie Bushman, setter Courtney Godfrey and middle hitters Brittani Cole and Mayra Ramirez all return and will anchor the Bruin attack.
“With those four—they’ll absolutely tell each other how it is and will definitely push each other,” said Dulaney. “If Mayra’s not doing her job, Brittani will tell her. Even Courtney gets into that mix. There’s a healthy respect within our sophomore core, and we’ll be better because of that.”
This Bruin Volleyball squad has little time to prepare for some very important matches, especially considering the tough competition the team will face.
“There isn’t another program in our athletic department where a team starts to get ready and then three weeks later is in games that really count,” said Dulaney, who has a win-loss record of 114-35 in her time at SLCC. “It’s definitely a difficult dynamic, because I feel like when we get to the end of the season I finally know my players and the year is over.”
Dulaney is confident that her sophomore group will embrace their newfound roles as leaders in the locker room. She feels that they’re a cohesive unit, with maturity and an excellent work ethic. With that nucleus in place, she can focus on the team’s eleven incoming freshmen.
“We really like our incoming freshmen as well. I made an extra effort to get our sophomores involved with every one of them early on,” Dulaney said. “Facebook has been a great tool for us, because we can introduce the team to their new roommates over the summer and it really helps. It’s important to get them talking to each other as soon as possible.”
With the college volleyball offseason taking place over the summer months, it presents unique challenges for the SLCC coaching staff. With school out, Dulaney’s players aren’t on campus much, and as a result she gets less hands-on time with the team than coaches from SLCC’s other sports have.
“Our kids have got to be super self-motivated in the offseason. They’re back in their own element at home, doing what’s comfortable to them,” Dulaney said. “We’ve had players come into the gym and play every day on their own though, which is a good sign to me.”
SLCC Volleyball begins official practices on Aug. 1. The Bruins will get their first competitive test of the year on Aug. 9 when they scrimmage against Westminster College at Bruin Arena with a 1 p.m. first serve.
“I’m excited about the season, because we played well and got some good experience over spring volleyball,” said Dulaney. “We split with the University of Utah, and were able to beat Utah State and Weber State. Overall I feel like we played well.”
SLCC Volleyball opens the 2012 year at the Buffalo Wild Wings-Hilex Poly Invitational, hosted by SWAC rival College of Southern Idaho (CSI) on Aug. 24-25 in Twin Falls, ID. The Bruins will square off with two Wyoming-based schools on the first day, taking on Sheridan College at 1 p.m. and Casper College at 5 p.m.
On day two of the tournament, SLCC will compete with Phoenix College at 11 a.m. before playing against the Trappers of Northwest College from Powell, WY at 5 p.m. in the night cap.
Coach Dulaney will have talented players, with all four sophomores making big strides over the spring and summer months. Dulaney is particularly excited about the possibilities to experiment with new offensive tactics and strategies.
“I’m really into having a dynamic offense that keeps opponents guessing,” said Dulaney. “We’ll use our assets in new ways, putting our attack in different places. For instance, instead of always using Maddie on the outside, she’ll come inside a bit more this year and attack from different spots.”
In addition to having eleven new players to work with, Coach Dulaney will have some new faces on her coaching staff this year as well. First-year SLCC assistants Mike Daniel and Kelsey Campbell will work with Dulaney on the Bruin bench, and she feels that they’ll be solid additions to her staff.
“Mike is awesome with matchups and setups, and I think fans will see a different Bruin Volleyball team this year as a result,” said Dulaney. “Kelsey played for us in ’08 and ’09 as a defensive specialist. She recently graduated from Campbell College—she’s very involved and will take care of a lot of the team stuff for us this year.”
SLCC’s first regular season home game will take place on Sept. 11 at 6:00 p.m. against Western Wyoming College. Home games are broadcast live on SLCCTV (Comcast 17) and Radio SLCC at radio.slcc.edu. Attendance to SLCC Volleyball home games is free for students with a valid OneCard, and fans can find out more about Bruin Volleyball at slccbruins.com.