Cougars preparing for spike in win total
In approaching a typical preseason practice session, head coach Molly Alvey’s game plan is simple: play to win.
With three days until the Cougars open their season against Lipscomb at the Athletics/Alumini Center, the two- and three-a-day practice sessions have left little to the imagination as to the Cougars’ mindset for the upcoming season.
“We’ve got develop a swag,” Alvey said.
In 2010 the Cougars went 19-13 overall, and 13-7 in Conference USA, the most league victories since 1999.
Last season, senior middle blocker Lucy Charuk emerged as an All Conference USA First Team selection.
Not resting on their laurels
With the accolades of last year in mind, UH was picked to finish third in the 2011 C-USA Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
Alvey said she is wary about depending on the the Cougars’ past accomplishments.
“There’s a lot of goals we didn’t meet last season,” Alvey said.
“We need to work on a mentality of winning at home. When we’re on the road, it’s getting that first set and staying in a position to win.”
With the hope for the Cougars to repeat last season’s successs and work towards a C-USA title, Alvey has high expectations of her returning seniors.
With several players graduating from the 2010-2011 team, Alvey and her coaching staff are looking to Charuk for leadership.
“I expect a lot from Lucy this year,” Alvey said. “We want her to be a more vocal leader. That means demanding the ball more and being a presence on the floor.”
Charuk spent her offseason earning international experience, playing and training with the Canadian National Team.
Her role as team leader will be a vital part of the Cougars’ efforts toward a conference title, and delivering on the third-place preseason ranking by C-USA coaches.
“My level of play can’t have any drops this year,” Charuk said. “We want to beat at least three of the top 40 teams we’ll play this year. I’ve got to be consistent every game.”
The Cougars tip their season off at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Athletics/Alumni Center.
With multiple practices a day becoming commonplace for the team, the level of intensity in each scrimmage shows signs that the Cougars are on their way to developing their swag.