Aug 16, 2013
BEAUMONT – As week one winds down for Lamar’s preseason volleyball camp, a number of stories have moved to the forefront with the 2013 opener looming on August 30.
“We’ve gotten a chance to get in the gym and get to know a lot of young players,” head coach Justin Gibert said. “We have 11 players here who didn’t play in the fall last year, and some position changes for those that are coming back. We’ve really just been focusing a lot on technical things. We’ve got some issues to work out, and we’re attacking them hard.”
MOSSAKOWSKI JOINS LU STAFF
For the first time in a few years, the Lamar volleyball program will carry a third coach as former All-American Lauren Mossakowski was named to the staff earlier this month.
“Lauren has been here every day with us in the gym, and it’s just great to have another set of eyes,” said Gibert. “She brings a lot of experience, and I really value her input and what she sees out there. She’s done a great job coming in and really learning what we’re trying to do here.”
Mossakowski, a graduate of the University of Kentucky, played in every match over her four seasons in Lexington, culminating her career in 2010 as the 13th player in school history to earn an All-America nod from the American Volleyball Coaches Association. The former middle blocker has since coached at the club level, and she’ll look to guide LU’s young corps of middles and right-sides over the course of this season.
“I think that I can bring a lot of experience to the team, which I hope to pass on to the younger players especially,” Mossakowski said. “I want to try and instill some of the knowledge that it took me four years to gain in them so that the team can perform at a higher level.”
The Indianapolis native is married to LU dual-sport athlete Ryan Mossakowski, who plays quarterback for the football team and third base for the baseball team.
MINOR INJURIES CAUSE SETBACK TO START OF CAMP
Gibert doesn’t expect most of the knocks his team has picked up thus far to carry over to the regular season, but it has been a story during camp.
“We’ve had a few injuries to deal with, and we really miss having their presence out there,” Gibert revealed. “Both Erika Rojas and Molly Duge are dealing with muscle strains. Autumn Taylor’s had an injury as well, and Megan Schwartz is still dealing with some foot issues. They’re missing valuable training time out there with the team right now, but it’s hopefully just a temporary problem.”
Schwartz, expected to star at libero this season, saw her playing time cut short last season due to a lingering injury, but it’s something Gibert hopes the junior can get past this time around.
“Obviously, we want Megan out there all the time,” Gibert said. “We’re hoping it won’t carry over into the season because she’s as good a libero as there is in the Southland when she’s healthy.”
MIDDLE BLOCKER ONE OF THE BATTLES TO WATCH
Going into camp, the competition for the starting setter role might have been the one to watch at McDonald Gym, but there’s also a battle going on between the freshman trio of Cortney Moore, Chelsea Grant and Sara Landis for time at middle blocker.
“We’re getting to the point now where we can get a consistent ball in to the middle,” Gibert explained. “We haven’t spent enough time with them offensively as we would have liked, but that’s changing now. Cortney will obviously be a big factor for us in the middle, and we expect her to do well.”
Moore, the Southland’s Freshman of the Year last season, will look to hold on to her place in the line-up as both Grant and Landis, who each sat out in 2012 with a redshirt, will try to fill the other void.
“I think we may end up seeing Sara and Chelsea share a spot,” Gibert said. “At this point, it’s almost a day-to-day basis. Sara really brings a presence and personality with her to the court, and Chelsea is a big blocker and has really played well in six-on-six. We’ll need both of them throughout the season. There’s no doubt about that.”