by Aaron Hughes | Staff Writer|
The success of the CSUSB women’s volleyball team comes down to team chemistry.
After 16 games, the Lady Coyotes are undefeated.
Head coach Kim Cherniss, who has been at the helm for 20 years, said the team has been successful because of their chemistry.
“Every one of our girls get along great,” said Cherniss. “They hang out together outside of practice and games. I can put any of them together in a room and not have to worry.”
Because the girls get along so well together off the court, they’re willing to work harder for each other on it.
“Our girls aren’t selfish, they really want to win for the team. That chemistry translates onto the court.” said Cherniss.
After an impressive start to this season, the team has set some very high goals.
“Our primary goal is to win a conference championship. We’ve won eight in the last 10 years and this year would make it six in a row.” said Cherniss.
Despite setting high goals for the season, Cherniss feels that they’re realistic ones.
“The stakes are really high because the goals are really high,” said Cherniss. “That adds some internal pressure and I’m sure the team feels it. But luckily we have a lot of experience. We have seven seniors on the team who are used to the pressure and are handling it very well.”
If the Lady Coyotes can win their conference, they’d be able to host the NCAA West Region Tournament for the fourth consecutive year, which would be considered a huge honor.
“We’ve had the opportunity to host the NCAA West Region Tournament the last three years in a row and we’ve put on a very classy and professional event,” said Cherniss. “Playing in the Coussoulis Arena is the crown jewel.”
If they could win the NCAA West Region Tournament, they would progress to the Elite Eight National Championship where the winners are crowned National Champions.
“The Elite Eight National Championship entails playing three matches in three consecutive days.” said Cherniss. “We’ve come up just short in doing that the past three years in a row.”
Concordia St. Paul University of Minnesota, the current Division II champions, have proven to be too strong in the past two seasons, defeating the Lady Coyotes both times.
Cherniss has spent a lot of time thinking about what the team can do differently if they were to meet Concordia again in the National Championship.
“Believe me, I’ve racked my brain.” said Cherniss. “I don’t know if we can do anything differently except keep working. Keep trying to be better and we have to play well. We didn’t do that last time.”
Despite not winning a National Championship, the team’s success in recent years has helped raise the universities profile.
“We’ve put the name of the school out on a national scale.” said Cherniss. “People know about us and know that we’re a really strong program in Division II. We’ve our part to highlight our university.”
If the team can continue to play well and have good chemistry, finishing this season as national champions is a real possibility.