The Jackson State Sports Media Office recently sat down with JSU head volleyball coach Rose Washington to talk about the 2014 season.
Q: What are the 2014 volleyball team goals and expectations having fell to defending Champs, Alabama State in the semi-finals?
A: Our goals consist of winning the Eastern Division and ultimately to recapture the SWAC Championship. However, we are preparing to compete against every team on our schedule and in the regional.
Q: Which standout players will you look to for leadership going into this season and why these players?
A: It will take a team effort to accomplish our goals and the young ladies have worked hard to improve at their position(s). However, players such as Mikayla Rolle (junior), a two time All-Conference middle blocker, who led the conference in blocking in 2013, Jenna Siddiqui (junior) setter/right side, who will take on the role as a hitter this year, as well as our newcomers, who will add quality depth to our team will be big contributors in assisting us to achieve our goals.
Q: What will it take winning another SWAC Championship and what are you doing as a coach to prepare?
A: As mentioned previously, it will take a team effort, with each young lady accepting the challenge and perfecting their role on the team. SWAC volleyball is taking it to a next level and each team has improved tremendously. I’m proud to say that there are an abundance of quality players entering our conference which add to the rivalries and will make for exciting matches. I believe, however, with the hard work and dedication that these young ladies are showing and my responsibility to recruit the players needed, we will have the team ready to compete for the championship and perform well overall within our schedule.
Q: What can the team do to position itself to have better outcomes in the NCAAs throughout the season, going into post season play?
A: Not to get ahead of ourselves, because when we talk about performing in the NCAA post season, we must first win the SWAC championship, which gives us an automatic berth. However, to answer your question, it is important for us to compete well and begin to win matches outside the conference; not only Jackson State, however, but other sister schools as well, so that our conference will continue to get stronger, which lends for better consideration during the selection process.
Q: What are you looking to change; if anything, or do to better for self as a coach this season? Whether it's communicate better with the players, do more team bonding, etc.
A: In terms of change, we will demand even more from our players in the areas of focus and leadership, on and off the court, as well as additional quality team bonding activities. However, I feel the young ladies are self-driven, in terms of wanting to compete and win the championship again, and us as coaches are prepared to do whatever we need to do to assist them in achieving that goal and others.