Volleyball Continues Improvement Entering Sunday's Alumni Match

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga volleyball team is looking forward to its final match of the spring on Sunday by going up against and meeting some of the former players of the program with an Alumni Match at 5 p.m. inside Maclellan Gym. A free coaches clinic is provided by first-year head coach Travis Filar preceding the event beginning at 3 p.m. for coaches at any level in the area. A brochure of the event can be viewed via the link at the top of the page.

Chattanooga completed the UAB tournament on April 9th defeating Alabama State, 25-22, 25-21, while dropping matches to Troy, 26-24, 14-25, 15-12, Jacksonville State, 15-25, 21-25, and UAB, 15-25, 23-25. The Lady Mocs tested their endurance during the all-day affair that begin at 10 a.m. and ended around 7 p.m.

"Overall, I thought that our energy, communication and effort was inconsistent," said Filar. "It definitely showed in how we played. The times when we were at a high-energy level and consistently fighting for every point were the sets that we either won or were right there point-for-point till the very end. In the times that our energy and effort was up and down, we played that way and also lacked discipline.

"We have some limitations, but every team does. We have to realize what those are and the best way to battle them is with energy, effort and discipline.  When we are consistent and in system, we play really well and are going to be tough to beat. We are scoring points, which is great, but we also have to learn how to be better and smarter when we are out of system."

Leading the team this weekend was junior middle blocker Ellie Kuhn (San Antonio, Texas) with 23 kills, sophomore middle blocker Aneisha Christie (Marietta, Ga.) with eight blocks and junior libero Paula Passmore (Merritt Island, Fla.) added 25 digs. Another notable player in the unofficial tallies in the three matches that stats were kept was sophomore right side Christina Teter (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) registering 21 kills.

"I think it was the way we came out against Troy in the first set," said Filar on the highlight of the weekend. "Even though, it was a tight set that we won, 26-24. It was the first time that we played an entire set from the first point to winning point. I was impressed because it was the most consistent energy, effort and discipline that we showed for a set in a competitive match the whole spring "

Another positive that Filar took from the UAB Tournament was the how the Lady Mocs took control of the second set against Alabama State in picking up their only win.

"We came out and went point-for-point with them in a 25-22 win in the first set," said Filar. "In the second set, we started off with a lead and were able to extend it in a 25-11 win. We have built leads before this spring, but were unable to stretch the lead and close out the set."

The team also learned the importance of playing with consistency and within themselves for every point during a match. It does not matter, who the opponent is, but the same team and energy has to be present for every match.

"We have to stop ourselves from focusing on the score or the opponent because if we are just focusing on our side and being consistent," said Filar. "Then, we are going to have the opportunity to win sets and eventually matches."

Filar also added that it is important for the team to maintain a rhythm and flow in the offensive system, but the challenge the team faces is being consistent. He believes that it all starts with the first contact.

"When we are serving, we have to put consistent pressure on our opponent by taking them out of their system with tough serves," said Filar. "When we are receiving, our passing and our digging is where the offense starts. If we are passing well and are in system, then we have hitters at every position that are going to score points.

"The challenge is about being consistent. With our defense, we dig a lot of balls, but at times we can't do much with those digs because they are not in a good position for our setter to get there and continue running our fast offense."

As the spring has progressed, the Lady Mocs have heard Filar preach about being present, which is one of the core values in the new direction of the program.

"We are going to focus on one point at a time and go as hard as we can," said Filar. "When that point is over whether we win or lose, then we need to move to the next point quickly and not dwell on what just happened.

"We just have to keep taking advantage of the days we have to get better. We have six or seven practices left to do just that."

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