The Women’s Volleyball team at Sinclair is currently third in their conference with an 8-5 record in conference play and an overall record of 18-13. With only a few games left before sophomore night, the girls are focused on how to end their season strongly.
Coach Kum Chee Gan is in his 20th season at Sinclair Women’s Volleyball team. Gan has received Coach of the Year three times, in 2000, 2005 and 2012.
This year a freshman, Nicole Sickling, won the OCCAC Division II Volleyball Player of the Week award four times this season, with two of those wins occurring consecutively.
Coach Gan’s coaching tactics are different from what freshman Hallie Holbrook was used to when playing in high school. Holbrook, who is originally from Middletown, In. said that Gan has put a lot of emphasis on the mental aspect of the sport, which has really helped her improve her game.
“Being a team is the most important thing,” Holbrook said. “A lot of our goals are wrapped around being a team, being positive and proactive.”
Shai Robinson, sophomore, said that in the beginning the team struggled a little bit with their chemistry and the loss of a player due to an ACL tear.
“We are working on closing the block, and reading the hitters,” said Robinson. The team is keeping their focus on improving their trouble areas before regionals and they know exactly what those are.
One thing she and Holbrook both said is their most improved individual skill is their mental game, and that it has improved the whole team’s outlook on the game and how to perform together as a whole.
Shayna Bierlein, a sophomore, said that the incoming freshmen have brought a lot of talent to the team. Bierlien suffered from an ACL tear last season.
Although it was hard for her to sit on the sidelines and watch her team, she wanted nothing more than to help and inspire not only the freshmen, but all of her teammates to do and be their best.
Bierlien always knew that she wanted to be a coach from a young age but Coach Gan has truly inspired her even more.
“He says to slow down a lot, slowing the game down is more than slowing your play down but, more so think about what you’re doing,” said Bierlien, on one huge element Gan implements in his team.
Holbrook, Robinson and Bierlien all had two common denominators, lack of energy but strength in the mental game. The team bounced back from three losses in a row to a win against Clark State on Oct. 17, but in order to keep their mental game strong they know they have to keep their energy up.
“We’re all just here to have fun,” said Bierlien, which is a theme for the team.
“I’ve met some of my best friends on this team, we all have our own sisterhood,” said Holbrook.
With the season coming to an end the team still have their eyes on the prize and continue to set goals for themselves.
The team has sophomore night and their last home game on Oct. 19 with two more season games to follow before regionals start on Nov. 1.