After winning their first Big Sky Conference tournament match since 1996 last season, this year's Grizzly Volleyball team is hoping to reach that level once again.
"It's a goal that we want to reach again. We've tasted it, and even though this is a new fresh team, it's something that is attainable and we want to have happen again once we've been there," says Griz Senior middle blocker Natalie Jones.
The challenging part for this year's squad, of the teams 15 players, a dozen of them are freshmen or sophomores, meaning Fall Camp has been strenuous and full of conditioning.
"It needs to be tough. If we want to become tough, then you have to train tough. We have that written on the board. Train hard, you'll be hard to beat, and that's what we're trying to do now, and it's a new energy level for these guys," says Griz head coach Jerry Wagner
For senior Natalie Jones, she's expected to lead the team from her middle blocker position, but maybe more important, being a leader for the younger teammates.
"It's scary. College volleyball is a big deal. This is Division-1, and you work hard to get here, so to have someone who has gone through it a couple of years, it definitely helps," says Jones.
While they may be young, coach Wagner says they certainly don't lack talent.
"We have plenty of athleticism and length here. It's just a matter of providing that experience, and we do have enough experience in each position, even though it's young, to provide plenty of competition. The level rises when you have someone on your heels all the time, and they are pushing each other in a positive fashion," says Wagner.
One benefit for the Griz, they start their season at home for the first time since 2008.
"It's awesome, I love being home for the first weekend and playing on the home court. Fall camp is tough. We have two or three practices a day, and to be able to come out right away and play here is definitely a blessing. Being able to sleep in your own bed, that's good for a lot of the new players coming in too, to ease into it a bit, I think it's definitely a good thing," says Jones