Tuesday Musing

Not much to muse about during the offseason but I did notice that Centenary have listed Bethany Johnstone as “Interim” Head Coach. Caroline Carlton resigned after 2 seasons and Johnstone was her assistant last year. The ETBU coaching position is still listed as “TBD”. UMHB still lists Rob Frost as the coach despite him stepping down to take a DI position.

In other coaching news, I was trying to find more 2019 recruits and stumbled across a number of articles regarding Linfield from last October. I have absolutely no contacts at that school and for whatever reason I never saw these articles at the time. In summary, a number of players quit the program due to conflicts with the new coach. I don’t want to comment on any of this as I have no direct knowledge but if you want to read the articles they are here, here and here.

Speaking of the 2019 recruits, they keep trickling in but I guarantee you that I’ve missed more than I’ve found. Some of the schools will officially announce them later this summer. Thanks to the coaches that share the information as it does help. I can tell you that the video links to the players are the most popular links clicked from my website.

I had a couple of fun stories from coaches regarding recruits. I had one case where I reached out to a coach and mentioned that I had found one of their new players. The only problem was that the coach had no clue who the player was. I went back through my notes and found the source material and emailed it to the coach. The coach still had no clue. I look forward to seeing if the player shows up the first day of practice! Another coach mentioned meeting a student-athlete at a club tournament for the first time who had already decided to attend their school. The student-athlete had never contacted the coach of her interest to play for the school.  I took a look at her recruiting video and it’s really impressive. It’s like the best early Christmas gift any volleyball coach could receive! This reminded me of a story that former Southwestern coach Hannah Long told me. First day of practice back in 2012 and she had a player just show up that she had no clue about. She would go on to start at outside for three years (playing six rotations) and would be an AVCA First-Team All-American her senior year.

Here is a little more information on the SCAC scheduling this season with the addition of St. Thomas. Two years ago with 8 teams, the conference had 2 groups consisting of 4 teams each. The groupings were geographical based. This past year, with 9 teams, the conference went with 3 groupings of 3 teams each. They implemented mid-week matches when possible, which was something new in my years following the conference. The downside (to me) this past season is that the scheduling used up an extra weekend which limited out-of-conference play. For this season, the SCAC has informed me that they are going back to 2 groupings with 5 teams in each group. The groupings are no longer geographically based, which is interesting but clever. Here are the groups:

Group A Group B
Dallas Austin College
Centenary St. Thomas
Colorado College JWU Denver
Southwestern TLU
Schreiner Trinity

On the surface, it doesn’t make a lot of sense because you only play at an opposite group’s location once during the season versus three times within your group. By splitting up the two Colorado schools, for instance, you are forcing each group to fly to Colorado every other year and sometimes every year. What is clever, however, is that the schools in a line (for instance Dallas and Austin College) are “travel partners” and will play their two matches home and home mid-week during the season. With this bit of knowledge, it means that only four weekends will be required for conference play, which opens up the weekend taken away last season. It also means that teams will be playing 4 matches each of these weekends. I guess in a sense, this new alignment shares the pain of having to fly to Colorado for the 8 other schools. On the flip side, if the conference had grouped Colorado College and JWU Denver together then they would have almost been assured of at least one “Colorado home” weekend each season, which is not the case now. Interesting stuff from the SCAC and a little “out-of-the-box” thinking that should work pretty well.



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