Aug. 23, 2004
OXFORD, Miss. -
The Ole Miss volleyball team hasn't just been hitting the court hard this preseason. The Lady Rebels have also played hard in preparation for the upcoming season.
The team took their preparations off the beaten path this past week and worked on mental aspects of competition and team work with unity and team building exercises to help the 15-player roster gel as one unit.
"It was a day off from the physical drills, but it was a great day spent on the mental aspect of teamwork and overcoming challenges as a team," said assistant coach Kris Grunwald.
The Lady Rebels spent the bulk of the morning and afternoon learning more about each other and working together as a group to overcome the challenges of a unique obstacle course and problem solving puzzles.
"There was a lot of bonding that went on out there," said senior Mary Nell Bennett. "There were a lot of problem solving scenarios for us. Everything we did today can be brought to the court and implemented to make us even more successful. We have all come back with a new perspective."
It may not be clear to the casual observer how helping teammates scale a wall, passing teammates through a giant spider web without using the same opening twice or getting a 15-player team on a small raised platform can relate to volleyball, but the members of the Lady Rebel squad gained something from the experience.
"The things we went through really taught us to trust and rely on each other as teammates, not to get frustrated with each other when something doesn't go right the first time," said freshman defensive specialist Tara Langley. "As a freshman, I can honestly say that I feel a lot closer to the group who had already been here together and I don't feel like an outsider."
Jillian Ohrman, a sophomore on the squad, echoed the sentiments of Langley.
"It went wonderfully and was really fun," Ohrman said. "We were a close group, but this was a lot of fun and everyone involved showed leadership. We are definitely ready to go and take what we learned to the court."
The Lady Rebels will open the season at UAB on Wednesday, September 1, 2004. The match will begin at 7 p.m.
The home opener for Ole Miss will come Friday, September 3, 2004 when the Lady Rebels host the Magnolia Invitational. Ole Miss will play Eastern Michigan to open the tournament at 1 p.m.