HANCOCK - New coach Mary Kaminski's first priority isn't between the lines, it's between the ears.
"That's been my mantra from day one at all levels: if you believe in yourself, you can do anything, and these ladies are learning how to trust themselves, believe in themselves, what they've invested in," she said.
And the Bulldogs have quite a bit to believe in. With a squad full of returners, Hancock's got a lot for Kaminski to work with.
"These are great gals, they're very receptive and they listen," she said.
Directing the attack is junior setter Nicole Anderson. She's a returner, as are several of her weapons.
"We're doing a nice job. I feel Nicole is distributing the ball well too. She senses who's on," Kaminski said.
Chief among those weapons is senior captain Taylor Mattson. Mattson had 15 kills in the first dual match of the season against Chassell (see related story).
Junior Shannon Anderson had a good night on the outside Tuesday, while seniors Allison Berryman and Claire Meyer help Hancock in the middle and bolster the block.
Defensively, libero Jen Hannon returns and is the fourth and final senior on the roster, which has 12 juniors and a sophomore.
Though the seniors and returners are important, Kaminski is clear about the importance of maximizing each player's potential regardless of their current role.
"Taylor Mattson is our captain and our team leader as what it appears, but it's a team sport. We need everybody to function as one," Kaminski said.
When each player is winning between the ears, they'll have the self-confidence to be decisive and make plays between the line.
"That indecisiveness in a split-second sport like volleyball can make or break you and (eliminating) that'll come. It looks really good tonight. I'm happy with the way they played tonight and the competency they had."