HomeSportsLady Bulldogs healthy going into GSC tournament this weekend

Lady Bulldogs healthy going into GSC tournament this weekend

HEADLINE: Lady Bulldogs healthy going into GSC tournament this weekend

Union University’s volleyball team has had a record-breaking season, and the Lady Bulldogs are on the precipice of entering more uncharted waters this weekend.

Stephen Vick, Head Coach

The Lady Bulldogs (21-9 overall, 14-2 in the Gulf South Conference) are the No. 2 seed in the GSC tournament. The top two seeds in the eight-team tournament get a double-bye to the semifinals, so a spot in the conference championship will be on the line when Union takes the court against the winner of Mississippi College and Auburn-Montgomery at 1:30 p.m.

The tournament is at West Florida, who earned the right to host the tournament by winning the regular season championship.

“We lost to them 3-1 in sets and they were ranked No. 12 in the country,” said Union interim coach Stephen Vick. “But we were a couple of set wins away from hosting the tournament in Jackson.”

Vick took the program over in July, about a month before the season began, as an interim coach. He’s had coaching experience at Camden Christian School and Camden High School – starting the volleyball program at both schools and building Camden High into a perennial contender to get to the Class AA state tournament on an annual basis in just a few years.

His daughter, Jordan, is one of three Lady Bulldogs to be named to the all-GSC team. She’s a senior setter with 944 assists, which is an average of just under nine assists per set.

Senior hitter Emily Grace Cahoon joined Vick on the all-conference first team with 299 kills.

Sydney Sample, senior libero, was named to the all-conference second team with 417 digs.

“It was really unusual because Union asked me to come on and coach this year to give them a chance to find a permanent coach once this season is over,” Vick said about taking the job three months after former coach Darrin McClure resigned. “Late spring and summer is a difficult time to find a college volleyball coach because most of those positions are usually filled in December of January.

“I knew all the girls in the senior, junior, and sophomore classes because of Jordan’s involvement in the program since she got here, so I was willing to take this on for a few months.”

Vick’s first practice with the team included freshmen he’d never met before, so he did something different.

“I put all the team jerseys out there and told them to put their uniforms on, and we played a full college scrimmage complete with game officials at 6 o’clock in the morning,” Vick said. “I told them I didn’t see a reason for them to wait three weeks to get their jerseys if they were good enough to be here already to get one.

“I think a lot of the girls appreciated us starting out like that, and I think that was a catalyst to us having a very good preseason and building some momentum quickly.”

The Lady Bulldogs won their first nine conference games to establish themselves as a top team in the conference from the start before injuries plagued the team. The team had a hard time for a couple of weeks competing with tough competition.

“Once we got healthy again, we were winning again,” Vick said.

The Lady Bulldogs will have had eight days between games before they play on Saturday, which is another chance to let any nagging injuries heal.

“We’re doing well going in, and I know this team has the ability to make even more history this weekend,” Vick said. “We look forward to the opportunity.”

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