Each player on a roster has a purpose to their team to help progress them in moving forward. For Penn State, each player on its roster holds a special meaning to the team and brings a certain kind of strength that can be helpful in battle.
As the end of the regular season is dawning upon the team, Penn State is doing all that it can to reach the top of the EIVA standings, and it will take every single person in order to accomplish that goal.
Yet the road to the end of the EIVA will not be all glamourous. There will be mistakes along the way that the players will learn with time, and grow with experience.
Coach Mark Pavlik reflected on the team’s performance after their 3-1 win on the road against Harvard, and mentioned how mistakes are apart of growing. In reference to freshman setter Cole Bogner’s performance and the team’s loss in the second set, he had some rough patches but Pavlik said that with time, those times will not be that much of an issue anymore.
“I think Cole as a freshman setter is going to have those moments where he has got to make sure he understands what are they taking away and what are they giving us,” Pavlik said.
Some instances, it can seem as if experience is the only cure to limiting the mistakes, such as closing matches and the serve-pass game. However, experience is not the sole reason as to why players make an appearance into matches when times get a little rough.
“When you have a seven footer on the bench, you can put him in front of a hitter that changes everything for the hitter. To do that, you need to have a setter to go through the back row. There are some tactical considerations given to [subbing out players on the court for certain players] too,” Pavlik said.
Other times it can be due to adjusting to life on the road, and giving up the home court advantage instantaneously. Although the other surroundings of the court are not similar to the ones the Nittany Lions are used to seeing at Rec Hall, the consistent factors of the game will never change.
“There is home court advantages. When you play for example at Rec Hall, you feel real comfortable with everything. Each court is 18 meters long,nine meters wide and the net is eight feet high. That really does not change, but I think there is something to getting used to our surroundings,” Pavlik said.
At the end of the day, the game and rules of volleyball will remain consistent, but the players who make up the game after every season give their own team’s roster something special which only that player can provide. When the first whistle blows, it is using every one of those players in support of accomplishing the job at hand.
“It is not necessarily a personality or a person. Its what do we need. The strengths that we have available to us, and how can we use those to mitigate some of the strengths the opponent has,” Pavlik said.