By: Warren Younger
The 2014 Volleyball season has come to a close for the Mesa Thunderbirds.
The T-Birds lost their final match of the season to Glendale Community College in straight sets.
The loss gave MCC their 21st and final loss of the season.
They didn’t pick up a single victory.
With the T-Birds final record standing at 0-21, they finished last in the conference and will not be heading to the playoffs, though their final opponent, Glendale, will.
The season has been a tough one for the Thunderbirds, suffering the worst season in the history of the program.
But this season hasn’t really been different from the previous 20 seasons.
The T-Birds have had only four winning records since 1995.
1995 was the first time the team had a winless season, but haven’t been winless again until this season.
First year head coach, Matthew Werle, took control of the team after former coach Brent Martindale led the team to a combined 12-75 record in the previous four seasons.
Coach Werle was brought in to change that, however, this season didn’t go as planned.
“There is no doubt that this was a tough season to get through at MCC,” said Werle. “The athletic department, especially the athletic director, John Mulhern, have been such supporters of what I am trying to do with the volleyball program.”
When asked if there were any bright spots for the team, he responded by saying the team started to see the “big picture”.
“Even though the record does not show success, we have had great success in the classroom and the players started to see the ‘big picture’ about what is important in life,” Werle said.
Throughout the season, Coach Werle said that lack of confidence was the biggest demise of the team and after the season is over, he still believes that lack of confidence was the biggest factor.
“Winning is not something that is given. It is learned,” Werle said, “MCC volleyball needs to learn how to win again. Lack of confidence has a lot to do with it.”
He also talked about how the team didnt believe in themselves, although a few did.
“I am not sure the entire team believed that we could win,” said Werle, “The coaches and a few individual players did, but I do not believe the entire team felt we could win. And volleyball is a team sport with a heavy weight of trust and dependency on one another.”
Werle also talked about some of the other hardships that faced the team this season.
“The hardships come from lack of experience and lack of pressure situations,” Werle said, “In the practice gym we try to simulate pressure but it never does justice to what you face in a match.”
“My assistants did a great job for me this year in terms of coaching, but they were also used as practice players to simulate players from opposing teams for upcoming matches,” Werle said.
Looking to next season Werle believes that the team will be ready to compete … for the title.
“There will be some serious changes starting this coming spring. The practices and workouts will be geared heavily toward individual growth and challenges. The players need to be challenged in the weight room and on the court,” Werle said. “Only having a couple months with these girls was not nearly long enough to get them all on the same page. We also had a very limited time frame of when we could get stuff done because of class scheduling and their work schedules.”
“The planning going into this next semester will be well thought out and treated like a Division I volleyball program,” Werle said.