Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Volleyball faces off against Carthage

Augustana volleyball has shown how much it has improved this year and looks to continue that in the final third of the season.
“All of our losses are from teams that are ranked or one of the top teams from division three,” said head coach Kelly Bethke. “I would say some of our highlights were being competitive with some of the top teams in the nation.”
Bethke has been coaching for 18 years, but this is her first season coaching at Augustana. She was hired last November and finds difficulty in tasks, not coaching.
“There are some difficulties as my first year as a head coach in the college level,” said Bethke. “There are many things I’m learning that I wasn’t necessary aware of as far as the whole job in terms of recruiting, scheduling, and things outside of the practices and matches. However, I have not been alone as the coaches and the administrators in the athletic department have gone above and beyond to help.”
Other than that, Bethke feel optimistic about the season and where the team is headed.
“We’re doing really well,” said Bethke. “I didn’t know what to expect and I’ve been very pleased with the two-thirds of our season, which is where we’re at right now. We take it one day at a time, and we roll with it.”
In preparation for matches Bethke sends out videos of how their opponents play. Then the players watch it individually and get together during the beginning of practice and review what they saw. Then they work on those things during practice, and the next day, they make sure to work on those objectives. The team also has more focused goals.
They are determined in earning a spot and finishing in the top half of their conference. But, more importantly Bethke said, “Other than that we continue to focus on great effort, being great teammates with each other, and improving every chance we get.”
Yet, with the goals and objectives that the team has there are some opponents that are more challenging than others when it comes to achieving them.  Women’s volleyball at Carthage College is one of these challenging teams that has had a rivalry with Augustana for several years.
“We’ve always had a rivalry with Carthage, ever since I can remember from freshman year,” said senior Emily Leazer. “We haven’t been able to pull out a win, but I feel like it’s always been close. I think we match up as a team really well, but we’re ready to go up against them and compete.
Since Bethke is new to Augustana she isn’t entirely familiar with the rivalry but said, “Carthage is one of the top teams in our conference. That alone makes them a target for us. A couple of our players have friends or are acquainted with some of the players on the Carthage team; so, I’m sure they have personal rivalries of their own.”
The mentality of the team does not change even if our girls have these personal rivalries, however.
“It’s our expectation that we go out and we play good volleyball no matter who is on the other side of the net,” said Bethke. “It’s not uncommon for players to get a little more fired up against teams they know are going to provide a challenge for them, but it is exciting to know your opponent is going to be throwing some big shots at you. Other than that, we highly respect what Carthage can do and we’re just going to put our best foot forward when we get an opportunity to play them.”
Augustana plays Carthage on Oct. 21, at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI.

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Volleyball faces off against Carthage