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The St. Catharine College volleyball team learned the hard way how things are when the competition level moves up a notch. Juanita Mangan’s Patriots playing in the NAIA for the first time ended the 2008 campaign with a 2-39 record.
“The conference (Mid-South) was tough enough but we also had a very difficult schedule outside the conference,” said Mangan. “But we have no seniors on the team and I expect all of them to be back next season. Now they know what to expect from this level of competition.”
One of the two victories for the Patriots was a conference win over West Virginia Tech. The other came against Midway. But, despite the record, Mangan was encouraged by the progress her team showed throughout the season.
“I used the matches against Kentucky State as a barometer,” Mangan said. “Although we lost 3-0 both times, we were much more competitive in the second match which was the final one of the season. We were getting very few blocks early in the year but had a lot in that final match.”
Mangan will use the off season to add to her current roster and also recruit for the junior varsity team that will begin next season. “We hope to carry about 14 on the varsity with 12 or 13 on the JV,” she added. “I have some really good contacts in Louisville. We look to get a setter who can run a 5-1 offense and another power hitter who can hit through the blocks rather than try to finesse around them. We have a good group coming back and we just need to build around them.”