Volleyball team shows growth outside of season’s win-loss record

The SDSU volleyball team heads into their final two matches of the season with an overall record of 4-26 and 3-11 in the Summit League.

This is an improvement after finishing last year with an overall record of 6-26 and 0-16 in the Summit League play. 

Winning three games in conference play is the first step in first-year Head Coach Nicole Cirillo’s rebuilding process.

“We’ve made a lot of big strides and ultimately that is all that I have asked this team, is that we get better, we change the culture, that we work harder every day to get better,” Cirillo said. “As far as a grade, it’s an A, as far as wins go, that’s not our focus so I’m not going to base anything off of that.” 

Cirillo believes she is right on track in her rebuilding process.

“Absolutely, we’ve got five seniors that have done a great job leading this year,” Cirillo said. “Even though they won’t be involved in the growth over the next few years, they have helped lay a foundation of what is to come for Jackrabbit volleyball.”

The team will miss out on the Summit League Tournament this year as only the top-six teams make it. Cirillo thinks that is the next step her program needs to take.

“I think that the top six is definitely what you want to go for, for that postseason opportunity,” Cirillo said. “Next year we’ll see what comes, as far as what our goals are, we’ll have a completely different team, but that’s definitely an ultimate goal is the next step is making the postseason.”

With Jackrabbits losing five seniors they will be losing almost half of their roster. This doesn’t worry Cirillo so much on the floor as it does off it.

“They’re a solid group of young women, that have had a rough go around on the athletic side, but that doesn’t negate what they’ve accomplished in the classroom over their careers here,” Cirillo said. “Being able to take on the challenge of having a new coach their senior years, they will be able to pass on that adversity happens and how do you deal with it.” 

Even though the program is heading in the right direction, there is still a lot that needs to get better and Cirillo understands that.

“Our biggest thing is to grow our mental side of the game,” Cirillo said. “We’ve shown our skills at moments, but our consistency is what we struggle with right now, and that’s part of the mental aspect, so being able to play the game at a higher level is something we’ll push this spring.”