Volleyball tested on road

Elijah Hickman | Banner | Cassiy Dennison, sophomore business administration major gathers, with her team before facing University of California, Riverside volleyball team in 2018

California Baptist University’s women’s volleyball team started their pre-season games on Aug. 30. With a 3-6 record, the Lancers are using early-season tournaments to prepare them for long-term success.

“As far as how pre-season is going, we had a rough start but we have been winning more games and doing a lot better as a team,” said Hana Okuhara, sophomore health science major and setter.

Branden Higa, head coach of women’s volleyball, said the team has players who are playing in new positions for this season.

“The start of the season has been (about) a lot of people figuring out their new roles and a lot of learning,” Higa said.

Higa also mentioned the major improvements the team has been making this season. 

“We have made big strides in our blocking and serving so far,” Higa said. “The next step is trying to reduce our attack errors while still being really aggressive.”

Higa said the team has been really focused on the things they can control and on competing.

“We are getting better in training every week and that is showing in pre-season tournaments,” said Elizabeth Gilley, senior nursing and intercultural studies major and defensive specialist.

The team is at the end of its pre-season with one tournament left, which is the Nevada Tournament Sept. 20-21 in Reno, Nevada.

Coming into the last tournament of pre-season, Gilley said the team is improving in training every week, as seen in the results of previous tournaments.

“We are doing many new things as a team this year and the team is adjusting and executing well,” Gilley said.

Okuhara said the team has been making changes and adapting to new adjustments.

“We have made significant improvements on running different lineups and staying flexible throughout,” Okuhara said. “And we have made big jumps with working on specific things to win games.”

Gilley said the team is always trying to improve on every area of the game.

“There is always room to go upward across the board,” Gilley said.

Higa said the team has a tough schedule this season because most of the Lancers’ games will be played on the road and not in the friendly confines of CBU’s campus.

The team’s first home game will be Sept. 26 against the University of Saint Katherine at Van Dyne Gymnasium.

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