Even through a separated off-season and a tough 2020 schedule on the horizon, UD volleyball holds a championship mindset. Photo courtesy of Flyer News.
The University of Dayton volleyball team has a championship-mindset, even while their preparations for next fall are significantly altered during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Volleyball head coach, Tim Horsmon, said while the team is meeting weekly through Zoom to make the team better, they still hold a winning mentality, even during a “fluid situation.”
“We have a very competitive group,” Horsmon said. “(With) the expectations of the program and who they are is attempting and pushing towards winning championships and a growth mindset and trying to get better every single day.”
The winning and growth mindset instilled in Horsmon’s team is being tested by the physical separation currently affecting everyone, but gives the team a “moment to reflect,” Horsmon said.
“I think all the coaches would share that they just miss being on the field or in the gym with our players,” Horsmon said. “This time gives you a moment to reflect on all the things that we have, the opportunities that we have.”
Looking ahead to a potential 2020 season, Horsmon said the team has “a lot of great personalities and a lot of great people in our program.”
The team is using weekly zoom meetings and programs from strength coach Mark Thobe to stay in shape over the summer to get players back healthy for the fall season, which Horsmon highlights as a top priority.
“We have a lot of athletic, talented volleyball players returning,” Horsmon said. “We’re excited about this season and who we can be as a group. But at this moment, that pales to getting everybody back and healthy and together.”
With an impressive freshman class recognized nationally coming in and losing just three seniors, Horsmon said the veteran experience will help the team moving forward.
“We have a lot of returners that won championships,” Horsmon said. “And probably multitudes of champions returning (who) know how to do it should give us some stability in getting back. We are bringing in some really, really talented freshmen.”
The freshman class coming in was named “Highest Honorable Mention” by Prepvolleyball.com and is bringing national attention and should provide a boost. Horsmon said he is excited to see how they challenge the returners.
“We have a lot of talented kids, mature kids that know what to do and how to lead this program,” Horsmon said. “I don’t know that it’s gonna take a whole lot to get them back moving in the right direction and lock step together.”
Assuming the 2020 season does take place, the Flyers come up against an “incredibly tough schedule,” with games against Kentucky, Louisville, Notre Dame, Kansas, Ohio State and Michigan.
“We’re going to be playing against some of the best teams in the country,” Horsmon said. “And we’re going to have to be ready to play. But that’s where I think we belong, the types of teams we should be playing.”
As the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, Horsmon said the team is excited to get back together and represent the program.