Lane volleyball coach Alexis Emanuel has been working for the last couple of months with her team, integrating the incoming freshmen with her veteran players.
She didn’t get a lot of time to work with her older athletes during the spring because of their work with other spring sports teams at Lane.
“All of our athletes either played on the tennis team or joined the track and field team,” Emanuel said. “Which is good, because doing another sport for a couple months gets them away from volleyball and allows them to learn more about that their bodies are designed to do.
“I’ve even had a couple of them improve in their lateral movement on the court because of work they did in tennis. So it was beneficial.”
Sophomore Kyra Gaston was selected as preseason All-SIAC, and she’s listed at multiple positions, which is what Emanuel prefers for most of her athletes.
“We’ve got a lot of athletes on this team who are tall enough to put up front right on the net and get there for a block or hopefully knock the ball down,” Emanuel said. “But they’re also adaptable enough that they can get on the backrow and do the things they need to be success back there too.
“Having multiple athletes with that kind of diversity in their abilities enables us to do different things on the court that throws the other team off before the set when we disguise what we’re about to do.”
Last season was a landmark year for the program as the Lady Dragons recorded 25 wins, which is a program record and was a 10-victory improvement over 2021. That record was also good enough to garner the team a No. 2 seeding from the west division for the conference tournament.
Emanuel also picked up SIAC Coach of the Year honors.
She had no interest in addressing trying to replicate that honor, but she does feel good about the team living up to the standard set last year.
“Freshmen are on campus for Dragon Academy to get them accustomed to college life before they’re here for an entire semester,” Emanuel said. “And that time was a great opportunity for the veteran players and incoming athletes to get to know each other and figure out how they will work together.”
The season starts Aug. 31 with a home game against Winston-Salem State followed by the Dragon Classic, which will include four home games on Sept. 1-2 against Kentucky State, Dillard University, Harris-Stowe State and Talladega College.
Brandon Shields, firstname.lastname@example.org