CWU’s Volleyball staff has a positive mindset for preparations this year

Deacon Tuttle, Staff Reporter

CWU’s volleyball program is gearing up with the prospect of a season. The coaches and trainers across the board are stepping into this time with specific goals in mind. 

Head Coach Mario Andaya’s objective is for the team to stay grounded for this spring season moving into the fall. With the 8-match schedule coming up, his coaching is centered on fundamentals. His focus is to work toward the type of play that has landed CWU 8-straight NCAA playoff appearances.

Andaya has led this team for the past 25 years. According to Andaya, his earlier years focused on hands-on examples with guidance and teaching. 

“Now, it’s gotten to a more of a cerebral type of approach,” said Andaya. 

This involves film and platforms that allow this advancement towards the competition that was not present before. Zoom meetings introduce new opportunities for additional knowledge and spacing.

To aspiring coaches, Andaya said to be very open-minded, be very meticulous in planning and continue to learn. All of these factors keep him loving what he does.

Director of strength and conditioning Erik Hoium said the relationship built with the athletes is imperative. The constant for Hoium is demonstrating care for all the players on the team.  

Not having the players around affected last year.

“These student-athletes are our lives,” said Hoium. 

The coach-to-player relationships are foundational. Hoium said it took a toll on him when the pandemic struck. Hoium wants to accomplish his due diligence for the team’s benefit in research.

“We’re not going to ask them to do anything that doesn’t translate to success on the floor,” said Hoium. 

Hoium said that they had to get creative with the science aspect of training due to COVID-19. Without gyms, the shift towards conditioning intensified and they answered by utilizing sprint work programs. Now that spring is here the team will lean into power and speed training.

Assistant head coach Lauren Herseth is stepping into her second year coaching with CWU. Herseth played with CWU’s volleyball team during her college tenure and then made the jump to coaching. 

“I want to give that back to the players we have now,” said Herseth. 

She wants to provide her player-coach experiences to propel the players forward. 

A year has passed since CWU hired Herseth. She said that last year was about getting to know the players. Since then, the players and her have built relationships and the coaching has grown easier. 

When asked about her coaching philosophy, Herseth said Andaya continues to be an influence.

Herseth wants to prepare for the fall because that is the season that matters, because a championship is on the line.