As any coach heads into the season the circle two parts of their schedule; one that they realize that they can make a run and get potentially many wins in a row and the one part of the schedule that will be gruelling for their players and challenge the team to the greatest extent of their physical and emotional strength.
We are almost through that gruelling stage right now. We have almost completed the part of our schedule that had us playing all Top 6 teams in the conference in a row. It started with #19 in NCAA DIII poll (3)Nebraska Wesleyan on the 9th, #4 in the NAIA national poll (1) Northwestern on the 12th, (6) Hastings on the 15th, #15 in the nation (2) Doane on the 16th, #19 in the nation (4) Dordt on the 19th. We have (5) USF this upcoming Saturday.
The schedule has never been friendly to us at this time of the year but yet neither has the ability to shoot ourselves in the foot with unforced errors. This is one of those points in time that you get through and then move on as quickly as possible and try to put it to the back of your mind and forget it ever happened.
Some positives that we can look at as we progress in the final stage of our season is that we get to go back to our 6-2 setup with the return of Rachel Tinklenberg, back from an injury which held her out for from the start of this part of the schedule. Ashley Kley is beginning to get her offensive game back from a year ago at this time. Kimi Lueders is showing her offensive talent and the reason why she was put in the lineup on a little bit more consistent basis. Meghan Cronberg is beginning to understand that attack location is just as important as power and the combination of the two is lethal. We need these four players as well as Carina Fesenmaier, Stacie Brinker, Andrea Johnson, Kacie Sanderson, Brooke Warne, Sam Sandau, Wendy Schmaltz, Kayla O'Connell, Kalissa Wade, Kara Robertson, Liz Humiston, Kelli Swenson, Lacey Reimnitz, redshirt Larissa Veldhuizen and even our injured players Lexi Townsend, Sage Knudson, Nikki Gleich and Sarah Stahlke to be at the top of their emotional, mental and physical abilities on an everyday basis. We need the commitment to self-improvement and the ability to help teammates improve to be at is greatest level than ever before.
We have an opportunity to go out win our next 6 matches. Our opponents are all very beatable and not to our level of play when we have absolute focus on our game plan, skills, and togetherness. I go back to last week's comment, "IT IS THAT TIME OF THE YEAR". We are in that moment, that stage, that time of the year where great things only happen when you fear nothing and you give every drop of energy to your play, your sport, your TEAM.
- Coach V