Aug 13, 2012
By Robin Thuringer
CARBONDALE, IL - ices
Justin Ingram arrived on campus in January with a significant task in front of him.
The new Saluki coach inherited a volleyball program that had just finished a season with a record of 9-18. The team had gone 8-28 in Missouri Valley Conference play in the previous two seasons.
Ingram started at square one, using winter workouts to implement a new style of volleyball to the nine returning players.
"The system I introduced is different," he said. "The set is at least twice as fast as it was, and the biggest change is the defensive package. It is a swing set, so the movement is completely different."
The returning players embraced the new system immediately.
"Everyone is a lot more energetic -- it has been refreshing and it is exciting learning something new," said senior Bailey Yeager. "There are higher expectations, so it is pushing everyone to work that much harder."
The spring season offered the first opportunity for Ingram to watch the team in action.
"I got to help train the team in the spring and that was really exciting," said Ingram. "When the spring was done we really saw where we could be and now the bar is raised and the expectation level is pretty high in the gym."
That sentiment has carried over into pre-season camp, which began last week.
"It has been a great transition because we have had time since Coach got in here in January to establish the system," said senior Rachael Brown. "We have higher expectations for each other and we are holding each other accountable."
Ingram understands the sense of urgency for the seniors and their desire to depart SIU with a winning record.
"The four seniors are dynamite," said Ingram. "Their vibe, energy and how they are leading is affecting the others and it is trickling down. They want to be great."
The Salukis will open the 2012 season at the Memphis Invitational on Friday, August 24.