The Chattanooga Mocs volleyball team is hard at work preparing for the upcoming 2014 fall season with spring competitions consuming weekend’s for Head Coach Travis Filar’s squad. Amidst a four-week workout period, UTC has stacked an intense exhibition schedule it is currently working its way through.
Probably the most challenging scrimmages on schedule for the Mocs this spring were played Saturday in Atlanta, Ga., on the campus of Georgia Tech as Chattanooga met up with in-state foe Tennessee and former SoCon-rival Georgia Southern. Despite the stout competition, Filar saw Saturday as a way to observe his team’s improvements.
“We are excited to play both Tennessee and Georgia Southern – both teams that we played in the fall – and be able to see how much we have improved since then. We lost both of those matches, but it’s going to be interesting to see how we respond. We want to see how much we’ve grown.”
The Mocs responded with a 1-1 split with the Eagles, and despite a 3-1 loss, shocked the Lady Vols with a 25-10 victory in their first set.
The first frame of the Georgia Southern match went to extra points with the Eagles taking the eventual win with a 27-25 score. Chattanooga struck back in the second set with a 25-17 over the 2013 Southern Conference Tournament champions.
Despite the Tennessee win, the Mocs claimed the first set by 15 points. The second and third sets belonged to the Lady Vols 25-19 and 15-13.
“I couldn’t have been more proud of the team,” Filar said. “We really had a chance to win the first set against Georgia Southern, but errors late cost us that one, and we were very confident against Tennessee. We looked very dominant, but we still have things to work on.”
With a successful spring nearly in the books for the Mocs, Filar has nothing but good things to say about his rising team.
“I think the exciting thing about this spring is that we have so much depth at each position,” Filar said. “The amount of student-athletes in the gym is great. We have 14 kids on roster so, probably for the first time in three years, we are able to really implement a system offensively and defensively. We have known what we want to do, and now we have the athletes, personnel and skill to do that.”
Among improvements seen this spring include the team’s maturity since last year.
“We were a young team in the fall, and I believe that hurt us a few times last season,” Filar said. “This season is different because every individual kid has grown and is showing leadership after going through a seniorless 2013. And I believe our senior group has also grown into a great group of leaders. Briana Guzinski (), Kasey Talley (Boiling Springs, S.C.) and Melissa Green (Boca Raton, Fla.) have all become vocal and shown a strong presence on the court. They are showing leadership through their work ethic as examples for the team to follow.”
Chattanooga wraps up its spring prep next weekend as the Mocs travel to Nashville, Tenn., for the Alliance Volleyball Club College Invitational. While in Music City, UTC is set to take on Lipscomb, Miami-Ohio and Troy. While in Nashville, Filar looks for the Mocs to build off its confidence gained in Atlanta.
“Now we need to go into the last weekend and compete at a high level with the confidence we displayed at Georgia Tech. If we play with more consistency, those 27-25 losses turn into 25-23 wins. We want to end the spring on a positive note.”