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Coach Leanne Williamson believes her University of South Dakota volleyball squad has something "special" going for it.
That is not the worst way to start a head coaching career as Williamson's current team is her first.
"I feel good about everything," the Coyote coach said. "We had a pretty good intrasquad scrimmage Friday and they went at it hard. Overall, I was pretty happy with our level of focus even though it was a tough practice."
Battling some niggling injuries, the Coyote women were forced to shuffle things around to make up for a 6-on-6 battle that featured plenty simulations of different game situations.
"We had people playing different positions and it never let affect them negatively or did we hear any of the make an excuse which had a positive effect on the team," Williamson said. "They played as a team and worked together very well."
During the week the squad spend plenty of time bashing the volleyball, but it also got plenty of chances to take a break and just get to know themselves better.
"More than anything we are trying to give them an opportunity to spend more time together outside of volleyball," Williamson said. "Sometimes you can overlook the little things that matter outside the gym. It helps get the freshman to get acclimated and know the other players.
"When there is adversity it helps them know who to go to during those times. We want all of us to know we have each others' backs."
Williamson has been so dialed in coaching her team that she really hasn't thought much about the reality of this being her first week of being in charge.
"I haven't put too much time into thinking about it," Williamson said. "Addressing the team before and after practice. I am enjoying it a lot and I really do believe this is a special team and I just want to enjoy the journey with them."
- The team's Red-White scrimmage is set for 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 23 in the DakotaDome.
Admission is free and the team will play four sets in a "real match" atmosphere to give fans a chance to see the Coyotes before they hit the road for four weeks of intense non-conference play.
The Coyotes open the home part of their schedule on Sept. 26 against North Dakota State.
They travel to Green Bay, Wisconsin to open their season on Aug. 29 at 4:30 p.m. against the University of Arizona.
- The preseason Summit League volleyball poll is expected to be released this week, Williamson said.