Simmons, St. Joseph’s serve small Suffolk setback

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With two losses this weekend, the Suffolk University volleyball team has experienced a little setback in the run for the playoffs. The Rams are now 7-7 this season  after defeating Lesley College  3-0 on Tuesday evening. The next few weeks will be crucial in order to secure a playoff spot in the GNAC tournament.

This year the volleyball team hopes to go all the way and win the GNAC championship, something the team has never done before. Head coach Kristine Mickelson was asked if this year was the year for the volleyball Rams, replying: “We have really turned the team around in terms of attitude, and we have conquered big milestones such as winning a tournament for the first time in at least six years.  I think we could be strong contenders for the GNAC playoffs and if we continue to improve throughout the season,” Mickelson said.

There is good reason to be optimistic, because the future is bright for Suffolk volleyball. The team seems to be showing chemistry both on and off the court. Perhaps chemistry is what helped the team  win the David Hildebrandt Memorial Tournament. In the end, it’s all about winning games and tournaments, that is the main goal for the Lady Rams.

“We had really great moments of solid team chemistry and focus.  That is the team that I want us to be 100 percent of the time,” said Mickelson. “We know that we can compete with strong teams in our conference, and now we know where we stand in comparison.  To win those games, we needed to have the passion and focus the entire match.”

Photo courtesy of Suffolk Athletics

Focus is something the Lady Rams will need in order to win the big games. This focus will come from a combination of experience and the pure will to win. While experience will certainly come, the will to win is already there and you can see it in the players.

Coach Mickelson was not concerned about her team’s form prior to the Lesley game.

“I do think we can beat them.  They’ve played some strong teams out of our conference, and have played a few in the conference that we have also been competitive with. Our main focus will be to keep our team driven throughout the entire match.  We have the skills we need to beat Lesley. We just need to have the mental toughness to strongly compete against a team and not be afraid to win”. It turned out that Mickelson was right.

Another factor that could change a game is the superb play by a star player with top quality. Suffolk does have those star players, but unfortunately one of them left the team. The missing player this year is Maggie Hillman who has left a huge gap to fill. Mickelson understands how much the team could need a player like Hillman.

“Maggie was an incredible athlete. It was such a pleasure to coach her the past two years. Unfortunately, due to personal reasons, she was unable to continue her athletic career with us. She would have absolutely been a top player for us”.

Top players can lead their team to championships. The Lady Rams definitely have  star potential to go far this year. Last time Suffolk volleyball made the GNAC tournament was back in 2006 but this could be the year it happens again.

A very important weekend for the Rams will be the last weekend of September when the girls face Bridgewater  State and Salem State University.