By Lily Perez |Staff Writer|
Coyote’s Arielle McCullough is on the verge of setting a new Coyote volleyball record while contributing to the team’s goal, winning another conference championship.
McCullough, senior captain, has 43 digs to go before surpassing Megan Haas’s all time record of 1,566 digs, set during the years of 2006 and 2008.
McCullough is libero, which is a specialized defensive position that plays in the back court; they play in all back rows for the middle front, but never rotate to the front row.
“I go in saying I’m not going to let the ball drop, I play like every play is my last play” said McCullough.
This is the mindset she has every game and it averages about 14 digs a game, according to the stats on the CSUSB athletics website.
Aside from McCullough’s outstanding defense, Coyote’s volleyball has out-blocked all but one of their opponents this season. “They are number two in the country for block percentage,” said women’s volleyball head coach Kim Cherniss.
On Oct. 9 and 10, the Coyote women defeated Cal State University, Los Angeles Golden Eagles 3-1, and Cal State University, Dominguez Hills Toros 3-0.
Coyote’s lead middle blockers are Tori May and Breanna McIntosh; McIntosh led the team with six blocks against the Golden Eagles, while May led the team with six blocks against the Toros.
Cherniss says the team is physically strong and has an energetic dynamic, aiding in their outstanding defense.
During practices, Cherniss tells the young women to “practice discipline, the same thing, the right way, every time.”
They set-up, communicate, and get into action.
“We are a veteran dominant team,.We’ve played three or four years together. There is a lot of chemistry on the court and trust within the team,” said Cherniss.
The Coyote’s short-term goal is to position themselves in a good regional seat for the NCAA tour in November.
The Coyotes have aspirations to win the Conference championship for the ninth year in a row which, “is not an easy task because our conference is one of the best conferences in the country.” according to Cherniss
“The mindset is always to win a championship; it starts with conference, then regional for the opportunity to go to Nationals,” Cherniss continued. The Coyotes are 11-4 this season because of their outstanding defense and great chemistry.
“After a loss I would say that we reflect on what happened. Obviously, we are upset but that doesn’t stop us from learning from our mistakes. It just makes us work even harder than we already do,” said McCullough. The Coyotes must win the rest of their matches to have the opportunity to make it to the conference championships.
The women trust each other on the court, “It’s honestly a huge family,” said McCullough.
“There is never a dull moment, both on and off the court this team has a bond,” continued McCullough.